Fremantle and Geelong went blow for blow both figuratively and literally as the lead changed 12 times throughout the game, it took 2 late goals to Matthew Pavlich to get the Dockers over the line.
It was an extremely spiteful match which will be the topic of much of the conversation this week, most of which will be centred on Hayden Ballantyne.
Ballantyne was involved in multiple incidents throughout the match, the most notable being a punch to the jaw from Matthew Scarlett which could result in a spell on the sidelines for the Cats stalwart. Ballantyne will also come under scrutiny for an incident that left Paul Chapman on his hands and knees.
However, even without these events, the game was of the highest quality with both teams exchanging momentum and having every player on their last legs by the end of the clash.
Fremantle burst out of the gates with the first five goals, they looked like a new team under new coach Ross Lyon and one that that did not look like a typical zoned Lyon team as they moved the ball quickly and spread well.
Despite Fremantle’s dominance, Geelong, as always, were able to find goals and brought the margin back to 2 goals at the end of a high-scoring quarter that resulted in 10 straight goals.
In the second quarter, Geelong began to get on top, especially in the centre as Joel Selwood dominated the clearances with James Podsiadly the primary recipient, kicking 2 goals.
It took an act of brilliance in Nathan Fyfe’s snap on the boundary from the opposite foot to keep Fremantle in touch.
The third-quarter was played at a frenetic pace and Geelong quickly lost their five-point half-time lead.
Ballantyne’s antics fueled the action, however inaccurate kicking meant that neither team could build a lead. The sides entered the final break with only one point between them.
The effort expelled by the players in the final quarter was immense, everyone was out on their legs, mistakes began to emerge and the game began to open up.
The stars from each club tried to will their teams home.
Fyfe excelled with his contested work while for Geelong, Jimmy Bartel was sublime in kicking two goals.
In the end, Fremantle were just able to hack the ball forward more often and Pavlich was able to make use of his opportunities.
Fyfe was the best of the Fremantle players with 30 disposals, he was crucial in keeping Fremantle’s midfield competitive with Geelong’s star-studded line-up. He was constantly at the bottom of the pack, racking up contested possessions
He was well-supported by Sandilands, who at times was unstoppable and worked hard at ground level as well as Tendai Mzungu, who was everywhere and Micahel Johnson who was a rock at centre-half-back, providing great run.
Geelong’s stars were as reliable as always, new captain Joel Selwood dominated the clearances and was the source for many of Geelong’s forward thrusts and Bartel was at his game-changing best, always seeming to be in the right place at the right time.
The cats would also be impressed by the performances of youngsters such as Steven Motlop, Josh Hunt and Billie Smedts who held their own in the high-intensity game.
This win will act a great launching pad for Fremantle and the rest of their season as they now know they can beat the best and will look to push for the 8.
Geelong face the daunting task of flying back to Melbourne to face a red-hot Hawthorn keen to end their losing streak against the Cats.
FREMANTLE 6.0 8.3 12.8 16.9 (105)
GEELONG 4.0 9.2 12.7 15.11 (101)
Fremantle: Mellington 3, Pavlich 3, Clarke 2, Fyfe 2, Ballantyne 2, de Boer, Barlow, Bradley, Mzungu
Geelong: Hawkins 4, Bartel 3, Podsiadly 2, Motlop 2, Johnson, Duncan, Mackie, T Hunt
Fremantle: Fyfe, Sandilands, Mzungu, Johnson, Ballantyne,
Geelong: Selwood, Kelly, Mackie, Bartel
Reports: Scarlett (Gee) for striking Ballantyne in third quarter.