FREMANTLE 4.2 5.3 9.6 11.7 (73) WEST COAST 2.0 3.8 5.11 7.12 (54)
Goals: Fremantle: Z Clarke 3 H Ballantyne 2 C Mayne L Neale M Barlow M De Boer N Fyfe R Crowley. West Coast: J Cripps 2 J Darling 2 J Kennedy M Rosa S Tunbridge.
BEST Fremantle: L Neale, N Fyfe, H Ballantyne, A Sandilands, P Duffield, D Mundy. West Coast: M Hutchings, S Hurn, M Rosa, M Priddis, B Shappard,,E Mackenzie.
Umpires: Troy Pannell, Luke Farmer, Brendan Hosking.
Official Crowd: 40,476 at Patersons Stadium.
Fremantle beat its cross-town rival West Coast by 19 points at Patersons Stadium, but the victory could have been so much easier.
Each of the important KPIs that AFL teams treasure went the Dockers way in their 11.7 (73) to 7.12 (54) win, but 10 minutes into the third term the Eagles remarkably held a six-point advantage.
However, six consecutive goals from that moment to the midway point of the final term gave the Dockers their fourth win of the season and left them in the eight at the end of seven rounds.
That sixth goal came from the boot of Lachie Neale, a sub in the Dockers’ grand final loss to Hawthorn, who on Sunday emerged as a classy AFL player capable of performing on the big stage.
Western derbies are the biggest home-and-away games as far the two WA teams are concerned and his 32 possessions earned him the Ross Glendinning Medal as the best player on the ground.
Injuries early to Fremantle key defenders Luke McPhalin and Zac Dawson could have helped keep the Eagles in the game. The Eagles tall forwards will stretch any defence at the best of times.
McPharlin continued despite a hip injury, but Dawson’s ankle forced him to the sub’s bench at half-time.
For the second consecutive week the Eagles were unable to make the most of their attacking opportunities. After kicking 1.8 in the final term to lose to Carlton by three points, the Eagles produced the same tally in the second term against the Dockers.
Goalkicking is now a problem for West Coast.
Mark Hutchings missed two shots from within 15 metres inside the first three minutes of the second term starting after the Eagles had trailed by 14 points at quarter-time. It set the tone for West Coast for the term, with 11 inside 50 entries for their 1.8.
The Dockers went forward eight times and managed only 1.1 and still held a seven-point lead at half-time. Not that Fremantle’s forward line was any more productive.
In the first term it had 17 inside 50 entries (to the Eagles’ three) but managed only 4.2. It had double the number of possessions as the Eagles (128-64).
Nat Fyfe had the Ross Glendinning Medal in his pocket by quarter-time. He had 13 touches for the term, coming off two consecutive games of 32 and 33 possessions since sitting out in rounds three and four due to suspension.
But the tight tag from Scott Selwood took the Dockers champ out of the contest in the second term.
Fyfe didn’t touch the ball and was clearly frustrated by the end of the term. Selwood managed five touches of his own and could have had much more influence.
He was one of the Eagles who wasted chances in front of goals, kicking one goal from two gettable shots – his second chance coming after Fyfe threw him to the ground off the ball.
But Fyfe is a tough player to keep quiet.
He was the one who kicked a goal midway through the third term to see the scores level after the Eagles had taken the lead for the first time in the game and threatened to run away.
He finished with 26 disposals and still had an impact on the result.