Sunday, 5th of July 2015 – Words & photography: Tiana Bergmans
The clash between Fremantle and the Lions on Sunday afternoon in Perth started very differently than usual. There were no team songs, no banners to run through and Freo’s pre match fireworks display were nowhere to be seen due to both clubs honouring the memory of Adelaide coach, Phil Walsh.
The players paid their tribute to Phil Walsh.
After a sombre start, Freo were fast to mark the scoreboard with a goal from superstar Michael Walters and Pav – which saw the end to his 3 week goal drought. Due to the wet weather in Perth, the ground was significantly slippery, causing skill errors to be prevalent throughout the game. The first quarter was a slow one, with goals from Brisbane’s Bewick and Leuenberger giving Brisbane a surprising one point lead.
The Dockers were not applying their usual pressure, allowing the young and bottom ranked Brisbane side to stand up and keep up very well with the Dockers. The Dockers finished off a relatively boring first quarter with clever manoeuvring from Suban and a quick kick to Walters, which he easily translated into a goal. This however, left the Dockers trailing by 2 points at the first change.
The miserable weather continued into the second quarter which caused a woeful kicking efficiency from Fremantle. Crucial scoring shots were missed by Clarke, Ballantyne and even Nat Fyfe. After a string of dreadful attempts. D. Pearce broke the goal drought with a fantastic snap from inside 50, giving Fremantle fans something to cheer about. Another brilliant set up from Mayne allowed Zac Clarke to redeem himself, as he ran straight up to the goals to stretch the margin to 11 points. This was soon answered by a goal Robinson, evoking some sound from the quiet Brisbane fans at Domain Stadium.
Mayne continued his influence with a brilliant mark, setting up a shot for prominent midfielder Lachie Neale, who finished on 27 disposals (equal to Nat Fyfe). Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to convert this to success on the scoreboard, despite being only about 20 metres out. Influential Lion, Matthew Leuenberger, managed to sneak in a goal just before the siren, leading to the scores being equal at half time. Most of the quarter was played in Freo’s half and despite 17 inside 50’s from the home side, they were unable to profit from this.
After a sloppy first half, the Dockers continued to fail to apply defensive pressure, seeing a goal from McStay put the Lions back in front. Despite a portion of sun breaking through, both teams struggled to maintain possession of the ball, which translated to little success on the scoreboard. The third quarter was a frustrating one, with poor performances from both sides.
The only shining moment for Freo in the third quarter was a fantastic goal from Michael Barlow. Upon Pav missing a mark, Barlow came charging through to regain possession of the ball, producing a stellar goal. This sent Freo flags waving in the air, and gave both the players and supporters some confidence after an incredibly low scoring quarter. The term finished with Freo ahead by only 3 points, giving hope to Lions fans regarding a possible impending upset.
Freo ran out into the last quarter energised and determined, leaving Lions players stunned, bewildered and goalless until the 16th minute. A prodigious snap from Pav and a brilliant goal from D. Pearce early on saw the Dockers fans erupt into a loud cheer! The Dockers were on fire, with an excellent display of teamwork seeing Walters slot his 3rd goal. This suddenly saw the margin being stretched out to 21 points, which was game high at the time.
Fremantle’s forwards really put on a show for the 32,970 fans at Domain Stadium. Determination from Ballantyne saw him beat the gallant Lions to the ball within Freo’s 50. A quick handball to Pav saw the skipper produce another sophisticated snap. Pav, who has come under serious scrutiny in the past weeks finished off the game with 3 beautiful goals.
The Dockers continued their demolition of the Lions with a terrific mark and a classy kick seeing dominant pocket rocket Walters kick his 4th for the home side. A brutal high tackle on the audacious Ballantyne saw him handed a free kick which he responded to with a clean set shot, drawing out the margin to 31 points, diminishing hope for Lions fans.
Lachie Neale sealed the win for Freo, whose 7 goal rampage in the last quarter saw them sail in to a 6 goal win over the gallant Lions. Despite fantastic efforts from Dayne Beams who collected 30 disposals and brilliant goals from Matthew Leuenberger, couldn’t hold off the formidable and first placed Freo.