Words & Photography: Tiana Bergmans
The Dockers sailed into a 21 point win over the spirited Greater Western Sydney on Sunday afternoon at Domain Stadium. Despite being without superstar Nat Fyfe and feisty forward Hayden Ballantyne, the team was able to cement their position on the top and bank their 4 points.
Freo welcomed back Mzungu, who played his second game of the season, as well as defender Zac Dawson, who played his first game of the season. Whilst Mzungu gathered 16 touches, Dawson ran into trouble with Giants star Jeremy Cameron, by elbowing him in the face. Cameron was forced off the ground due to the blood rule, and Dawson is likely to attract some unwanted attention from the Match Review Panel.
Freo fans during the quarter time break.
The game started off sensationally, with a goal from David Mundy within the first minute. Two goals from Walters and one from Pav, respectively, set up a 3 goal lead for Freo at the first change, as the Giants had only mustered one goal from Stephen Coniglio.
The second quarter was littered with errors, particularly for the purple team. Their score efficiency was shocking, kicking 2.6 in the second quarter. Their failure to optimise their time in the forward 50 was damaging to their scoreboard. GWS were also relatively inaccurate, kicking 1.4 for the quarter. Fremantle were fortunate that GWS were unable to capitalise during the quarter as well, which significantly minimised the impact of their inaccuracy.
The Dockers were only able to record 28 effective kicks, whereas the Giants had 40, which contributed to Freo’s inaccuracy on the scoreboard. To have only profited on 2 of 8 scoring shots was disappointing from the top team in the AFL.
GWS started off the third term with a quick goal from Tom Scully, followed by Jed Lamb banging one through a few minutes later. The attack of the Giants startled the Dockers, as well as the 34, 626 fans at Domain Stadium. After a string of behinds, developing defender Alex Pearce finally scored, which came at a crucial time for his team. His persistence in his goal kicking was pivotal for the Dockers and helped break the surge of GWS.
Alex Pearce lines up for a goal.
Despite Jeremy Cameron slotting one for the Giants, Walters, Mayne and Pavlich followed the example of Pearce and all achieved goals themselves, helping to pull the Dockers ahead. This left the team ahead by a comfortable 33 points at the last change.
After a round of applause for Fremantle debutante Lachie Weller, who was subbed on in the last quarter, GWS had an electric start. Goals from Hoskin-Elliot and Griffen worried Freo and gave hope to the few GWS fans in the stadium that their boys might just pull ahead. Cameron and Lobb continued to do damage on the scoreboard for GWS, but Freo were determined to take their 4 points. Goals from tall forward Griffin, as well as Mayne and Pav, who both kicked 4, sealed the deal for Freo.
In terms of goal kicking, Walters was electric, kicking 4 goals. Cameron was also spectacular for GWS, kicking 2, helping him to continue in his quest for the Coleman medal.
Lachie Neale was potent in the midfield, gathering a massive 38 touches, crucial in the absence of Nat Fyfe. Teammates Spurr, Hill, Mundy and Barlow were also phenomenal in the disposals, gathering 125 between them. Dockers debutante Lachie Weller managed to gather 8 in his first game of footy, which was a pretty good effort for a first gamer within in one quarter.
Adam Treloar and Heath Shaw were outstanding for the Giants, gathering 33 and 31 touches each, respectively. The loss wasn’t good news for the now 10th placed Giants, who have been fighting throughout the season to make the 8. Earlier on in the season, their finals campaign was going along swimmingly, but they have now dropped out of touch with the leading teams..
Sun sets over Domain Stadium.
This win was crucial for Freo, who are now 6 points ahead of second placed, cross town rivals West Coast, and three games clear of the 3rd placed Hawks, who are looking very dangerous, particularly after their massacres of Freo, Carlton and Sydney in the past 3 weeks.
Freo will be looking forward to a potential percentage booster game against the Saints next week, whilst GWS will be looking to beat the very inconsistent Bombers, in order to keep pushing to make the top 8.