Words & Photography: Tiana Bergmans
August 30, 2015 – Domain Stadium
The Dockers have claimed their first ever minor premiership by thumping the inconsistent Demons by 54 points on Sunday afternoon at Domain Stadium, in front of 33,529 people. The Dockers have hung on to top spot after having it had been in jeopardy after two shock losses to the Eagles in the Western derby, and to 8th placed North Melbourne last week.
The Dockers stamped their premiership credentials with a first half 11 goal carnage of Melbourne. Freo went on a 5 goal rampage in the first quarter, leaving the defenceless Demons completely goalless and obliterated. The Pav did some damage in the first quarter, kicking 2 goals. He was assisted by D. Pearce, Barlow and even defender Garrick Ibbotson, who kicked the first goal of the match. Dockers debutante Ed Langdon, brother of Collingwood’s Tom Langdon, also had a shot at goal in his first match, but was unsuccessful. In keeping the Demons to a mere point in the first term, the Dockers held Melbourne to their lowest score against them.
The Dockers continued to eviscerate their opponents, with a goal from C. Pearce within the first 30 seconds. Dockers stars, Neale, Pav, Sandilands and Mzungu all followed up with stellar goals of their own, before Melbourne finally broke their 10 goal mauling, with a goal from Jeff Garlett. To add to the woes of the Demons, 200th gamer and skipper, Nathan Jones, was subbed off during this quarter due to an ankle injury.
Fremantle had an extremely efficient quarter, gathering their first 6 inside 50’s within the first 10 minutes, 5 of which translated to success on the scoreboard. The Dockers slotted another goal from Chris Mayne, but it was Melbourne who picked up the pace throughout the rest of the quarter. Garlett booted another major and goals from Vince and Watts were also crucial, leaving the Demons with a 44 deficit at half time.
The purple team had an equally powerful start in the third quarter, with a goal from another Pearce within the first minute, but this time, it was Danyle. This was quickly answered by Jack Grimes and Jesse Hogan from the Demons who slotted one each. The Dockers rounded out the quarter with two more goals from De Boer, however, there was significantly less pressure from the Dockers in this term, evident through the low scoring. In addition, the Freo boys were making quite a few careless errors, significantly irritating the Purple Army at Domain Stadium.
The last term was a slow start for Freo, not kicking a goal until well after the 10th minute, courtesy of Stephen Hill. The Demons however, enjoyed some success, with Gawn and Hogan producing the first two goals of the quarter. Lachie Neale and Tommy Sheridan polished off the depleted Demons with a goal each, respectively, leaving Fremantle to win by a comfortable 54 points, which secured top spot.
Lachie Neale was absolutely sensational for Fremantle. The young star recorded a game high 15 contested possessions, 13 first possessions and 10 clearances. He also added 2 goals and 34 disposals to his repertoire, in a phenomenal performance. In terms of goal kicking, Pav and D.Pearce were superb, kicking 3 goals each, which was crucial in the absence of pocket rocket Michael Walters, who is usually responsible for the obliteration of the scoreboard. As per usual, Mundy was absolutely potent in the midfield, being involved in numerous scores, as well as collecting a team high 35 disposals.
Despite a dreadful loss, the Demons had some fantastic players. Daniel Cross was absolutely outstanding, collecting a game high of 39 disposals. In terms of goal kicking, Jesse Hogan and Jeff Garlett were pivotal, kicking 2 each.
The win has not only given the Dockers the minor premiership, but a whirlwind of privileges as well. The Dockers are set to rest up to 11 players in their final round clash with Port Adelaide, who will miss out on playing finals. Furthermore, they have guaranteed a home qualifying final.