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Dockers rewrite the script

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Fremantle stuns Geelong with maiden Melbourne finals win

Fremantle stuns last seasons premiers Geelong with an upset 16 point win in their elimination final.

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FREMANTLE 5.7 8.9 12.11 14.12 (96) GEELONG 0.1 3.5 6.9 11.14 (80)
GOALS Fremantle: Pavlich 6, Ballantyne 3, Walters 2, Pearce, De Boer, Crowley. Geelong: Mackie 2, Hunt 2, Christensen, Taylor, Selwood, Duncan, Stokes, Vardy, Motlop.
BEST Fremantle: Pavlich, Mundy, McPhee, Walters, Barlow, Hill, Dawson. Geelong: Selwood, Mackie, Bartel, T Hunt, Taylor, J Hunt.
REPORT James Kelly (Geelong) rough conduct against Tendai Mzungu (Fremantle).
UMPIRES T Pannell, B Rosebury, J Bannister.
CROWD 44,460 at MCG.

SELDOM, if ever, have the expectations about an AFL final been turned on their head as spectacularly as they were in the first 30 minutes at the MCG. The scoreline at quarter-time looked like you might have expected. Just with the teams the wrong way round.

Fremantle's opening burst in an elimination final few expected it to win, let alone dominate to the extent it did early, was little short of stunning. This wasn't just a case of a warm favourite being caught on the hop. Geelong was completely dominated by the Dockers in every conceivable facet of the game. Had it not been for just one flaw, a little bit of inaccuracy, the game would have been effectively over before it had barely begun.

Cat wrapped: Geelong's Mathew Stokes is wrapped up by Fremantle players last night.

Cat wrapped: Geelong's Mathew Stokes is wrapped up by Fremantle players last night. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

Right from the start, Freo was not only clearly ''on'', but had a fanatical intensity for which even the most seasoned Cats had no answer. It started at the top, with skipper Matthew Pavlich having the first three shots at goal. The first, he shanked. The second, following a beautifully crafted pass from Michael Walters, was spot on. The third, after he out-bustled Tom Lonergan, was a stroll.

Even as the prolific David Mundy created his second goal in a couple of minutes with a quick kick to Hayden Ballantyne, and Ryan Crowley converted another set shot to make it four goals to zip, you still felt this was more an aberration, or at best a cameo. Perhaps the non-plussed Cats thought it, too. And that was a huge mistake. Because there was far more to come.

The stats by the 20-minute mark said plenty. Fremantle had just taken its 10th mark inside 50, as many as Geelong usually concedes for an entire game. It had doubled the Cats for forward-50 entries. Beaten them for contested ball and even more convincingly for the uncontested stuff. This was far from the dour, stodgy outfit people presumed Ross Lyon would send into the fray.

Purple haze ... Michael Walters celebrates one of his two goals.

Purple haze ... Michael Walters celebrates one of his two goals. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

The Dockers ran, spread and carved huge holes in the Cats' defences. By the end of the quarter they'd had the ball in their forward half nearly 80 per cent of game time. The margin was 36 points, with the Cats held goalless.

It blew out further to 48 after Matt De Boer and Clancee Pearce made it seven goals to zip. Zac Dawson wasn't giving Tom Hawkins a look in, and he wasn't alone. Mundy and Michael Barlow were superb, Ballantyne his usual nuisance value, the still-raw Walters inventive and dangerous near goal.

But in a way what happened then was perhaps even more impressive on the part of the Dockers. The seemingly inevitable Geelong revival did eventually come. In fact, several times. And on each occasion, Fremantle was able to quell the uprising.

There was the Cats' three goals in four minutes into the second term to drag the deficit back under five goals. That was the cue for Walters to snatch one off the ground after Joel Corey had been pinned in his defensive goal square.

It happened again at the start of the second half, goals to Steven Motlop and Mathew Stokes making it a very gettable 20-point gap, the smallish but very parochial crowd finding its voice, the knowing looks exchanged.

Instead, the Dockers slammed on four of the next five, Pavlich, in surely one his very best and certainly his most significant game, again taking charge at the opportune moment.

His fourth for the night was another strong mark out in front. The fifth, however, was an absolute gem, keeping his feet in a one-on-one with a second opponent, Harry Taylor, giving him the slip, running in on the tightest of angles, and after considering squaring the ball, taking the initiative and drilling it home. Ballantyne pumped another lethal shot into Geelong's heart with a follow-up on the run, and Walters coolly stepped clear and restored the margin to 39 points. The Dockers stood tall twice more in the final term, too, as the Cats gave it one final, desperate shot. The ineffective James Podsiadly went back, Taylor and long-kicking Josh Hunt forward.

Again the September masters loomed ominously with goals to Andrew Mackie and Allen Christensen, back to four goals with 20-odd minutes left. Again, Freo struck on the counter-attack, Ballantyne relishing the opportunity to charge in and hammer another nail in the Cats coffin, now just about completely closed. And after Hunt had revived the tiniest flickers of a Geelong heartbeat with two goals, the gap now 17 points with just under five minutes still to play, Pavlich fittingly delivered the last rites, driving home his sixth.

Fremantle hadn't just clung on after getting off to a flyer. It had set the tone, braced itself for a worthy opponent to hit back, and gone punch for punch, always finding the appropriate answer when challenged. In 18 seasons in AFL company, no victory has come close to this one for enshrining not only the Dockers' football credentials, but their character.

Geelong, for its part, fought on, but couldn't find when it mattered most, at the start, the same sort of intensity with which it set Sydney on its heels last week. Skipper Joel Selwood couldn't have done a lot more, certainly. Jimmy Bartel came good after a slow and fumbly beginning. Taylor Hunt tried to lift his team as best he could. But the Cats' forward artillery was effectively muted by Dawson and co. Their defence was never allowed to peel off and distribute the ball with any sort of ease, the Dockers' forward pressure red-hot, Matthew Scarlett suddenly looking every bit his 33 years again, Lonergan a trier but simply beaten by a champion in Pavlich's brilliance.

And so Geelong's expected historic charge at a premiership from the unlikeliest of positions was snuffed out before it had even begun. You won't find too many people prepared even today to consider the possibility of the team which killed the Cats' dream performing a similar miracle. But after last night, who can say with certainty. Lyon's team sure is developing a taste for defying the odds, and its many doubters.


As you'd expect, the crowd of 44,460 was dominated in no small way by Geelong supporters. But what fans were there on behalf of the purple army certainly didn't keep a respectful silence. The Freo chant dominated the barracking stakes, even before the game had begun, and reached a crescendo as it became apparent in the final few minutes that a historic away finals win was about to be recorded. The performance from the Fremantle fans was just as impressive as the one by its players.


While it has lifted its scoring capacity significantly in recent games, Fremantle still isn't seen as one of the AFL's more potent scoring machines. But the Dockers mustered 12 scoring shots to just one in the opening-term blitz, putting Geelong's defence under the type of pressure it has rarely known for years. By late in the first term, Freo has taken 10 marks inside its forward 50. That figure is what the Cats usually concede in an entire game.


Zac Dawson still has his share of critics. But the former Hawk and Saint turned in one of the finest performances of his 94-game career on one of the competition's most intimidating propositions in Tom Hawkins, holding the previously rampant Cat key forward goalless, and to just nine possessions and three marks. Ross Lyon's liking for the much-maligned backman makes a lot more sense to a lot more people now.

Quarter 1
A Matthew Pavlich goal got Fremantle underway five minutes in. The Dockers started well, chopping off balls in defence and moving it precisely upfield. They turned a couple of the Cats' early chances into messy, unfulfilled ones and went two goals ahead when Pavlich outmarked Tom Lonergan, got up and scored from the goal line. Hayden Ballantyne's brave mark made it a three-goal lead, then Ryan Crowley and Pavlich again made it five by the 21-minute mark. Dockers by 36 points

Quarter 2
The Dockers controlled play, failing only to put the Cats away even at this early stage. A Matt de Boer set shot, 10 minutes in, put them on that path although the Cats were getting a touch more of the ball. Behinds to Tom Hawkins and Allen Christensen were the Cats' only scores. Down by 48 points, Andrew Mackie marked and scored Geelong's first goal, while Joel Selwood and Mitch Duncan goaled soon after. A Michael Walters' soccer goal interrupted that charge and the Cats still faced a massive challenge at half-time. Dockers by 34 points

Quarter 3
Fremantle began with a three-man forward line, indicating a desire to shut things down, but goals to Steven Motlop and Mathew Stokes had the Dockers on the back foot. A third, to Nathan Vardy, kept Geelong's score ticking over but the Dockers continued to find room to move. Two Pavlich goals and a running shot from Ballantyne kept the Cats at arm's length, before another Walters goal took them further ahead. A Lonergan shot hit the post, Duncan's shot went right, Zac Dawson outmarked Hawkins and the game seemed over. Dockers by 38

Quarter 4
The Cats rolled the dice, throwing Harry Taylor forward and moving James Podsiadly back but after six minutes they'd only made up two points. They weren't done with: Christensen scored off a set shot to bring the margin to four goals and Josh Hunt's shot slammed into a post. Again, Fremantle broke the flow with a goal of its own; Stephen Hill, Walters and Ballantyne teamed up to score. Hunt nailed his second but time was running out. That was as close as they got in one of the biggest September upsets in years. Dockers win by 16

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AFL 2015

Round 1
Thu, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
CAR 78vs RIC 105 Report Stats
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
MEL 115vs GCF 89 Stats
SYD 72vs ESS 60 Stats
BRI 74vs COL 86 Stats
WBU 97vs WCE 87 Stats
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
STK 78vs GWS 87 Stats
ADE 140vs NTH 63 Stats
FRE 75vs PTA 68 Stats
Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW 123vs GEE 61 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
WCE 131vs CAR 62 Stats
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC 66vs WBU 85 Report Stats
GWS 101vs MEL 56 Stats
COL 63vs ADE 90 Report Stats
GCF 76vs STK 104 Stats
PTA 44vs SYD 92 Stats
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
GEE 60vs FRE 104 Stats
ESS 78vs HAW 76 Stats
NTH 133vs BRI 51 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
COL 140vs STK 66 Stats
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
CAR 84vs ESS 105 Stats
ADE 80vs MEL 55 Stats
SYD 111vs GWS 90 Report Stats
NTH 105vs PTA 113 Stats
BRI 58vs RIC 137 Stats
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW 127vs WBU 57 Stats
GEE 105vs GCF 96 Stats
WCE 81vs FRE 111 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC 51vs MEL 83 Stats
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
STK 81vs CAR 121 Report Report Stats
ESS 49vs COL 69 Report Stats
GWS 119vs GCF 53 Stats
PTA 99vs HAW 91 Stats
FRE 74vs SYD 60 Stats
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
BRI 65vs WCE 118 Stats
GEE 67vs NTH 83 Stats
WBU 125vs ADE 68 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR 45vs COL 120 Stats
Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
RIC 76vs GEE 85 Stats
SYD 73vs WBU 77 Stats
GCF 118vs BRI 54 Stats
NTH 70vs HAW 130 Stats
WCE 120vs GWS 33 Stats
Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
MEL 50vs FRE 118 Stats
STK 80vs ESS 82 Stats
ADE 91vs PTA 115 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
COL 59vs GEE 100 Stats
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
NTH 109vs RIC 74 Stats
WBU 87vs STK 94 Stats
GWS 108vs HAW 98 Stats
GCF 78vs ADE 119 Stats
MEL 50vs SYD 88 Stats
FRE 80vs ESS 52 Stats
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR 75vs BRI 84 Report Stats
PTA 68vs WCE 78 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS 82vs NTH 93 Stats
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
ADE 119vs STK 73 Stats
HAW 155vs MEL 50 Stats
CAR 57vs GWS 135 Stats
SYD 120vs GEE 77 Stats
WCE 135vs GCF 43 Stats
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
WBU 88vs FRE 101 Stats
RIC 105vs COL 100 Report Stats
BRI 102vs PTA 65 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
GEE 140vs CAR 63 Report Stats
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
STK 78vs WCE 131 Report Stats
GWS 108vs ADE 84 Report Stats
GCF 63vs COL 132 Report Stats
HAW 69vs SYD 73 Report Stats
FRE 115vs NTH 42 Report Stats
Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS 136vs BRI 78 Report Stats
MEL 103vs WBU 64 Report Stats
PTA 43vs RIC 76 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
SYD 122vs CAR 62 Report Stats
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
HAW 93vs GCF 40 Report Stats
MEL 54vs PTA 115 Report Stats
WBU 113vs GWS 68 Report Stats
RIC 72vs ESS 59 Report Stats
ADE 57vs FRE 68 Report Stats
Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI 86vs STK 108 Report Stats
COL 112vs NTH 95 Report Stats
WCE 120vs GEE 64 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE 70vs RIC 97 Report Stats
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR 90vs ADE 99 Report Stats
GCF 41vs SYD 93 Report Stats
ESS 53vs GEE 122 Report Stats
PTA 100vs WBU 62 Report Stats
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
GWS 97vs BRI 67 Report Stats
NTH 85vs WCE 75 Report Stats
STK 69vs HAW 132 Report Stats
Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
MEL 85vs COL 110 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
PTA 69vs GEE 92 Report Stats
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
GCF 46vs FRE 53 Report Stats
WCE 96vs ESS 46 Report Stats
NTH 75vs SYD 91 Report Report Stats
Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
COL 119vs GWS 77 Report Stats
STK 85vs MEL 83 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 12
Thu, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
ADE 85vs HAW 114 Report Stats
Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
RIC 70vs WCE 90 Report Stats
Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR 110vs PTA 106 Report Stats
GWS 61vs NTH 117 Report Stats
WBU 146vs BRI 74 Report Stats
Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
GEE 89vs MEL 113 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 13
Thu, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE 80vs COL 73 Report Stats
Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD 77vs RIC 95 Report Stats
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
HAW 114vs ESS 76 Report Stats
BRI 69vs ADE 82 Report Stats
STK 56vs WBU 62 Report Stats
Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR 103vs GCF 69 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 14
Thu, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD 94vs PTA 84 Report Stats
Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
COL 91vs HAW 101 Report Stats
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC 78vs GWS 69 Report Stats
GCF 125vs NTH 70 Report Stats
WBU 64vs CAR 53 Report Stats
MEL 60vs WCE 114 Report Stats
Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS 52vs STK 162 Stats
ADE vs GEE 15:20Adelaide Oval
FRE 84vs BRI 48 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Thu, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
PTA 66vs COL 63 Report Stats
Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC 71vs CAR 41 Report Stats
Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS 69vs MEL 60 Report Stats
WBU 95vs GCF 73 Report Stats
NTH 120vs GEE 79 Report Stats
WCE 147vs ADE 91 Report Stats
Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS 84vs STK 49 Report Stats
HAW 115vs FRE 43 Report Stats
BRI 49vs SYD 70 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 16
Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
NTH 93vs ESS 68 Report Stats
Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
GEE 72vs WBU 64 Report Stats
GCF 79vs GWS 94 Report Stats
COL 56vs WCE 87 Report Stats
SYD 57vs HAW 146 Report Stats
FRE 95vs CAR 53 Report Stats
Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
MEL 60vs BRI 36 Report Stats
PTA 113vs ADE 116 Report Stats
STK 73vs RIC 89 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 17
Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
CAR 35vs HAW 173 Report Stats
Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS 42vs GEE 69 Stats
ADE 125vs GCF 80 Stats
RIC 78vs FRE 82 Stats
ESS 116vs PTA 129 Stats
BRI 38vs NTH 110 Report Stats
Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
WBU 104vs COL 86 Report Stats
MEL 46vs STK 83 Report Stats
WCE 103vs SYD 51 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 18
Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
HAW 53vs RIC 71 Report Stats
Sat, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE 113vs BRI 57 Stats
COL 54vs MEL 91 Report Stats
SYD 117vs ADE 65 Report Stats
CAR 54vs NTH 118 Report Stats
GCF 83vs WCE 83 Report Stats
Sun, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
PTA 112vs STK 49 Report Stats
ESS 40vs WBU 127 Report Stats
FRE 84vs GWS 63 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 19
Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE 88vs RIC 52 Report Stats
Sat, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
COL 105vs CAR 87 Report Stats
WBU 128vs PTA 64 Report Stats
BRI 100vs GCF 114 Report Stats
GEE 95vs SYD 63 Report Stats
WCE 74vs HAW 88 Report Stats
Sun, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
MEL 92vs NTH 127 Report Stats
GWS 93vs ESS 61 Report Stats
STK 59vs FRE 96 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 20
Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
SYD 87vs COL 76 Report Stats
Sat, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
ESS 59vs ADE 171 Report Stats
NTH 120vs STK 83 Report Stats
PTA 111vs GWS 90 Report Stats
GEE 85vs HAW 121 Report Stats
BRI 131vs CAR 67 Report Stats
Sun, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
RIC 138vs GCF 55 Report Stats
WBU 153vs MEL 55 Report Stats
FRE 80vs WCE 104 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 21
Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
HAW 86vs PTA 108 Report Stats
Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
COL 56vs RIC 147 Report Stats
GWS 44vs SYD 133 Report Stats
GCF 97vs ESS 95 Report Stats
STK 97vs GEE 97 Report Stats
ADE 131vs BRI 44 Report Stats
Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
NTH 94vs FRE 83 Report Stats
CAR 78vs MEL 55 Report Stats
WCE 162vs WBU 85 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 22
Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE 62vs COL 110 Report Stats
Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
GWS 132vs CAR 51 Report Stats
HAW 134vs BRI 62 Report Stats
NTH 73vs WBU 96 Report Stats
ESS 47vs RIC 74 Report Stats
GCF 51vs PTA 88 Report Stats
Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE 126vs WCE 69 Report Stats
STK 38vs SYD 135 Report Stats
FRE 108vs MEL 54 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 23
Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
RIC 108vs NTH 67 Report Stats
Sat, 05 SepTimes shown AEST
GEE 119vs ADE 80 Report Stats
BRI 130vs WBU 122 Report Stats
PTA 122vs FRE 53 Report Stats
HAW 113vs CAR 56 Report Stats
SYD 127vs GCF 64 Report Stats
WCE 125vs STK 30 Report Stats
Sun, 06 SepTimes shown AEST
MEL 103vs GWS 77 Report Stats
COL 92vs ESS 95 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 24
Fri, 11 SepTimes shown AEST
WCE 96vs HAW 64 Report Stats
Sat, 12 SepTimes shown AEST
FRE 69vs SYD 60 Report Stats
WBU 102vs ADE 109 Report Stats
Sun, 13 SepTimes shown AEST
RIC 88vs NTH 105 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 25
Fri, 18 SepTimes shown AEST
HAW 135vs ADE 61 Report Stats
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
SYD 51vs NTH 77 Report Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 26
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
FRE 67vs HAW 94 Report Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
WCE 80vs NTH 55 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 27
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
HAW 107vs WCE 61 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
AFL 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D % Pts
Fremantle 22 17 5 0 118.73 68
West Coast Eagles 22 16 5 1 148.22 66
Hawthorn 22 16 6 0 158.40 64
Sydney Swans 22 16 6 0 127.12 64
Richmond 22 15 7 0 123.09 60
Western Bulldogs 22 14 8 0 115.12 56
Adelaide Crows 21 13 8 0 115.71 54
North Melbourne 22 13 9 0 106.45 52
View all

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