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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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2014 Home and Away

Round 1
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COL 46 vs FRE 116 Report Stats
Sat, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
GWS 99 vs SYD 67 Report Report Stats
GCF 87 vs RIC 69 Report Stats
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CAR 87 vs PTA 120 Report Stats
Thu, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
GEE 119 vs ADE 81 Report Stats
Fri, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
NTH 60 vs ESS 99 Report Stats
Sat, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
HAW 139 vs BRI 91 Report Stats
STK 68 vs MEL 51 Report Stats
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WCE 134 vs WBU 69 Report Stats
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Round 2
Thu, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
RIC 98 vs CAR 86 Report Stats
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ESS 86 vs HAW 90 Report Stats
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STK 95 vs GWS 88 Stats
PTA 127 vs ADE 73 Report Stats
FRE 87 vs GCF 39 Report Stats
SYD 69 vs COL 89 Report Stats
Sun, 30 MarTimes shown AEDT
BRI 68 vs GEE 93 Stats
MEL 30 vs WCE 123 Report Stats
WBU 54 vs NTH 83 Report Stats
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Round 3
Fri, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
HAW 137 vs FRE 79 Report Stats
Sat, 05 AprTimes shown AEDT
WBU 100 vs RIC 98 Report Stats
ADE 71 vs SYD 134 Report Stats
GCF 114 vs BRI 61 Stats
WCE 83 vs STK 58 Report Stats
COL 76 vs GEE 87 Report Stats
Sun, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
GWS 79 vs MEL 47 Report Stats
NTH 97 vs PTA 90 Report Stats
ESS 138 vs CAR 57 Report Stats
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Round 4
Fri, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC 72 vs COL 110 Report Stats
Sat, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
CAR 58 vs MEL 81 Report Stats
PTA 159 vs BRI 46 Report Stats
GWS 83 vs WBU 110 Report Stats
GEE 107 vs WCE 32 Report Stats
GCF 49 vs HAW 148 Report Stats
Sun, 13 AprTimes shown AEST
SYD 48 vs NTH 91 Report Stats
STK 50 vs ADE 136 Report Stats
FRE 113 vs ESS 60 Report Stats
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Round 5
Thu, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
BRI 63 vs RIC 106 Report Stats
Sat, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
COL 93 vs NTH 58 Report Stats
SYD 92 vs FRE 75 Report Stats
WCE 56 vs PTA 70 Report Stats
ESS 65 vs STK 81 Report Stats
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ADE 137 vs GWS 72 Report Stats
MEL 78 vs GCF 86 Report Stats
WBU 91 vs CAR 119 Report Stats
Mon, 21 AprTimes shown AEST
GEE 106 vs HAW 87 Report Stats
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Round 6
Fri, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
COL 83 vs ESS 60 Report Stats
STK 79 vs BRI 82 Report Stats
FRE 61 vs NTH 74 Report Stats
Sat, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
GCF 134 vs GWS 94 Report Stats
CAR 92 vs WCE 89 Report Stats
MEL 38 vs SYD 69 Report Stats
Sun, 27 AprTimes shown AEST
WBU 83 vs ADE 92 Report Stats
RIC 52 vs HAW 118 Report Stats
PTA 107 vs GEE 67 Report Stats
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Round 7
Fri, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR 70 vs COL 104 Report Stats
Sat, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
HAW 175 vs STK 30 Report Stats
GWS 97 vs PTA 132 Report Stats
ADE 67 vs MEL 70 Report Stats
BRI 44 vs SYD 123 Stats
ESS 73 vs WBU 65 Report Stats
Sun, 04 MayTimes shown AEST
NTH 77 vs GCF 120 Report Stats
GEE 81 vs RIC 76 Report Stats
WCE 54 vs FRE 73 Report Stats
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Round 8
Fri, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
SYD 107 vs HAW 88 Report Stats
Sat, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
PTA 94 vs FRE 76 Report Stats
BRI 57 vs ESS 65 Report Stats
MEL 83 vs WBU 99 Report Stats
Sun, 11 MayTimes shown AEST
WCE 188 vs GWS 77 Report Stats
Mon, 12 MayTimes shown AEST
STK 69 vs CAR 101 Report Stats
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Round 9
Thu, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
ADE 76 vs COL 55 Report Stats
Fri, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS 64 vs SYD 114 Report Stats
Sat, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
RIC 74 vs MEL 91 Report Stats
NTH 125 vs BRI 38 Report Stats
FRE 96 vs GEE 64 Report Stats
Sun, 18 MayTimes shown AEST
STK 87 vs GCF 125 Report Stats
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Round 10
Fri, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
GEE 111 vs NTH 91 Report Stats
Sat, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
GWS 41 vs RIC 154 Report Stats
COL 109 vs WCE 101 Report Stats
PTA 100 vs HAW 86 Report Stats
Sun, 25 MayTimes shown AEST
GCF 119 vs WBU 74 Report Stats
CAR 81 vs ADE 76 Report Stats
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Round 11
Thu, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
SYD 148 vs GEE 38 Report Stats
Fri, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
STK 54 vs COL 140 Report Stats
Sat, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
MEL 75 vs PTA 95 Report Stats
BRI 98 vs CAR 91 Report Stats
ESS 104 vs RIC 54 Report Stats
Sun, 01 JunTimes shown AEST
ADE 109 vs GCF 77 Report Stats
WBU 51 vs FRE 89 Report Stats
HAW 94 vs GWS 87 Report Stats
WCE 44 vs NTH 82 Report Stats
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Round 12
Fri, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
GEE 107 vs CAR 102 Report Stats
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HAW 123 vs WCE 79 Report Stats
PTA 129 vs STK 59 Report Stats
WBU 87 vs BRI 95 Report Stats
GWS 66 vs ESS 81 Report Stats
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GCF 74 vs SYD 109 Report Stats
FRE 90 vs ADE 50 Report Stats
NTH 116 vs RIC 88 Report Stats
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MEL 28 vs COL 61 Report Stats
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Round 13
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CAR 90 vs HAW 118 Report Stats
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RIC 85 vs FRE 105 Report Stats
SYD 98 vs PTA 94 Report Stats
WCE 103 vs GCF 100 Report Stats
BRI 80 vs GWS 125 Report Stats
ADE 109 vs NTH 73 Report Stats
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GEE 133 vs STK 37 Report Stats
COL 98 vs WBU 106 Report Stats
ESS 77 vs MEL 78 Report Stats
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Round 14
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RIC 51 vs SYD 62 Report Stats
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
PTA 128 vs WBU 56 Report Stats
HAW 115 vs COL 86 Report Stats
GCF 118 vs GEE 78 Report Stats
FRE 105 vs BRI 22 Report Stats
ESS 101 vs ADE 92 Report Stats
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
GWS 100 vs CAR 92 Report Stats
STK 70 vs WCE 103 Report Stats
MEL 66 vs NTH 107 Report Stats
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Round 15
Fri, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
GEE 89 vs ESS 80 Report Stats
Sat, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
HAW 116 vs GCF 63 Report Stats
STK 73 vs RIC 117 Report Stats
FRE 88 vs WCE 81 Report Stats
SYD 106 vs GWS 60 Stats
BRI 70 vs NTH 66 Report Stats
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
WBU 91 vs MEL 85 Report Stats
ADE 99 vs PTA 76 Report Stats
COL 91 vs CAR 76 Report Stats
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Round 16
Fri, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
NTH 108 vs HAW 88 Report Stats
Sat, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC 79 vs BRI 54 Stats
GWS 72 vs ADE 140 Report Stats
GCF 80 vs COL 75 Report Stats
MEL 34 vs FRE 97 Report Stats
PTA 60 vs ESS 62 Report Stats
Sun, 06 JulTimes shown AEST
CAR 151 vs STK 66 Report Stats
WCE 51 vs SYD 79 Report Stats
GEE 69 vs WBU 56 Report Stats
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Round 17
Fri, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
ADE 92 vs HAW 104 Report Stats
Sat, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
MEL 36 vs GEE 102 Report Stats
NTH 92 vs STK 33 Report Stats
WBU 94 vs GCF 66 Report Stats
BRI 64 vs WCE 76 Report Stats
SYD 122 vs CAR 51 Report Stats
Sun, 13 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC 126 vs PTA 106 Report Stats
ESS 103 vs COL 39 Report Stats
FRE 136 vs GWS 60 Report Stats
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Round 18
Fri, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
CAR 109 vs NTH 86 Report Stats
Sat, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
STK 118 vs FRE 60 Report Stats
GWS 87 vs GEE 94 Report Stats
Sun, 20 JulTimes shown AEST
PTA 72 vs MEL 69 Report Stats
WBU 94 vs ESS 101 Report Stats
Fri, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
WCE 42 vs RIC 59 Report Stats
Sat, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
BRI 110 vs GCF 56 Report Stats
HAW 104 vs SYD 94 Report Stats
Sun, 27 JulTimes shown AEST
COL 82 vs ADE 98 Report Stats
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Round 19
Thu, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
FRE 83 vs CAR 78 Report Stats
Fri, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
SYD 79 vs ESS 57 Report Stats
Sat, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE 105 vs WCE 136 Report Stats
RIC 89 vs GWS 62 Report Stats
GCF 117 vs STK 64 Report Stats
NTH 79 vs GEE 111 Report Stats
Sun, 03 AugTimes shown AEST
MEL 51 vs BRI 74 Stats
HAW 107 vs WBU 45 Report Stats
COL 76 vs PTA 70 Report Stats
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Round 20
Fri, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
RIC 95 vs ESS 77 Report Stats
Sat, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
GWS 51 vs NTH 126 Report Stats
CAR 97 vs GCF 58 Report Stats
HAW 115 vs MEL 65 Report Stats
PTA 58 vs SYD 84 Report Stats
GEE 81 vs FRE 79 Report Stats
Sun, 10 AugTimes shown AEST
BRI 63 vs ADE 168 Report Stats
STK 99 vs WBU 122 Report Stats
WCE 126 vs COL 66 Report Stats
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Round 21
Fri, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
CAR 76 vs GEE 82 Report Stats
Sat, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
SYD 127 vs STK 56 Stats
GCF 47 vs PTA 56 Report Stats
ESS 77 vs WCE 74 Report Stats
COL 56 vs BRI 123 Report Stats
ADE 69 vs RIC 79 Report Stats
Sun, 17 AugTimes shown AEST
NTH 111 vs WBU 61 Report Stats
MEL 34 vs GWS 98 Report Stats
FRE 110 vs HAW 91 Report Stats
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Round 22
Fri, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
PTA 140 vs CAR 37 Report Stats
Sat, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
NTH 101 vs ADE 94 Report Stats
ESS 108 vs GCF 89 Report Stats
GWS 67 vs COL 75 Report Stats
WCE 119 vs MEL 53 Report Stats
HAW 94 vs GEE 71 Report Stats
Sun, 24 AugTimes shown AEST
BRI 48 vs FRE 106 Report Stats
WBU 67 vs SYD 130 Report Stats
RIC 98 vs STK 72 Report Stats
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Round 23
Fri, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
COL 56 vs HAW 121 Stats
Sat, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
CAR 90 vs ESS 90 Stats
FRE 105 vs PTA 97 Stats
SYD 65 vs RIC 68 Stats
NTH 123 vs MEL 93 Stats
GEE 143 vs BRI 81 Stats
Sun, 31 AugTimes shown AEST
GCF 99 vs WCE 151 Stats
ADE 141 vs STK 62 Stats
WBU 109 vs GWS 115 Stats
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AFL Finals Round 1
Fri, 05 SepTimes shown AEST
HAW 104 vs GEE 68 Report Stats
Sat, 06 SepTimes shown AEST
SYD 93 vs FRE 69 Stats
NTH 93 vs ESS 81 Report Stats
Sun, 07 SepTimes shown AEST
PTA 132 vs RIC 75 Report Stats
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AFL Finals Round 2
Fri, 12 SepTimes shown AEST
GEE 92 vs NTH 98 Stats
Sat, 13 SepTimes shown AEST
FRE 83 vs PTA 105 Stats
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AFL Finals Round 3
Fri, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
SYD 136 vs NTH 65 Report Stats
Sat, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
HAW 97 vs PTA 94 Report Stats
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AFL Finals Round 4
Sat, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SYD 74 vs HAW 137 Report Stats
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AFL Home and Away
Overall standings
Team P W L D % Pts
Sydney Swans 22 17 5 0 142.88 68
Hawthorn 22 17 5 0 140.78 68
Geelong Cats 22 17 5 0 113.77 68
Fremantle 22 16 6 0 130.40 64
Port Adelaide 22 14 8 0 129.92 56
North Melbourne 22 14 8 0 117.04 56
Essendon 22 12 9 1 106.34 50
Richmond 22 12 10 0 105.77 48
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