Thursday 25th of June – Words & Photography: Tiana Bergmans
Fremantle has managed to hold on to a 7 point win after an epic battle that could only be described as a tug of war, against Collingwood on Thursday night. The courageous win over a very persistent Collingwood squad has seen Fremantle cement their position on top of the ladder, whilst Collingwood have reaffirmed why they are serious premiership contenders.
Freo started off quickly, with a brilliant goal from key forward Walters, but the joy for Fremantle fans was short lived. Collingwood produced 3 unanswered goals from Broomhead, Adams and Collingwood skipper Scott Pendlebury to give them the lead. Brilliant goals from Hill and Fyfe towards the end of the first change shaved the margin to only 2 points at the first change, which gave the Fremantle fans something to cheer about.
Towards the end of the first quarter, the Dockers dominated the disposals, gathering 100 disposals, compared to only 79 from Collingwood. Freo continued to preponderate the disposals (371-345), reiterating why they are ranked number one in disposals in the AFL.
The Pies came bursting out in the second quarter, applying the pressure upon Freo, and starting with two stellar goals from Fasolo and Elliot within the first 10 minutes. True to his style and not to be outdone, star midfielder Fyfe took a phenomenal mark which translated into a goal. Fyfe came from nowhere, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, leaving the 37,145 fans at Domain Stadium in awe.
Fyfe was excellent throughout the game, gathering a total of 32 disposals and displaying great courage and determination in his style of play, including withstanding intense pressure from Collingwood players like Travis Varcoe, who is synonymous with high intensity pressure. Fyfe reaffirmed to the AFL why he is currently ranked as the best player in the AFL.
Throughout the quarter, Collingwood always seemed to be one kick ahead with goals from C.Pearce and Walters (both Fremantle), who went on to kick 4 goals for the match, being answered by Collingwood’s Fasolo and De Goey. Walter’s snap in the dying minutes of the quarter, reduced the margin to 2 points at the main change, leaving the gallant Pies with the upper hand yet again.
The third quarter was highly defensive, with no goal from either side until Collingwood’s Jack Crisp broke the goal drought, sending Magpies fans into a frenzy. Their cheer was met with cheers from the Fremantle squad, who were determined to outdo their Victorian competitors. Conditions were considerably slippery in Perth, which caused many skill errors for both sides, but the cooler weather saw the Victorians feel right at home. This was felt by the low kicking efficiency from both sides, Freo with 50% and Collingwood with 60%, respectively.
Brilliant goals from Freo’s dynamic duo, Hayden Ballantyne and Michael Walters, made the score board square at three quarter time, leaving all fans nervous about what was going to be a thriller of a last quarter.
Another fast start by the Dockers and a fantastic display of teamwork, saw influential midfielder Lachie Neale, slot an easy and well needed goal for the Dockers, to put them in front by a goal. The Dockers really turned up the pressure, with coach Ross Lyon saying “I thought our desire to win in the last quarter was really strong.”
Collingwood coach, Nathan Buckley was also considerably pleased saying, “The effort was excellent, Freo had to play pretty well to withstand our pressure and get the result.” This was shown by an excellent display of football from promising Collingwood forward Jamie Elliot (who hails from W.A) as well as from teammate Paul Seedsman. This elicited a sense of excitement for Collingwood fans, who were hoping to cause another upset to the top side.
For Lyon, ladder position was irrelevant, saying “You don’t want to get seduced by ladder positions.” Despite this, Lyon’s men demonstrated why they were in fact the top team, meeting Collingwood’s fantastic defence with force and determination. A great set shot from midfielder Michael Barlow, igniting a sense of purple passion within the stadium.
After some questionable umpiring and a night of many calls that were favourable to the visitors, Freo was finally handed a free kick within their 50. Fans like to call this a ‘Specsaver special’ – out of irritation towards the umpires, renowned for being sponsored by OPSM. Walters didn’t fail to capitalise and managed to stretch the margin to a quarter high 8 points.
Despite Collingwood’s desperation, Fremantle managed to hold on to win, but it was no easy feat. Freo reaffirmed why they are on top, but Collingwood also sent out a serious message to the AFL that they are a serious top 4 side who we should be seeing plenty of, alongside the Dockers, come September.