WEST COAST 0.4 2.8 7.14 11.18 (84)
FREMANTLE 1.1 3.2 3.3 5.6 (36)
The West Coast Eagles have completely obliterated Fremantle by 48 points at Patersons Stadium, rendering the Dockers’ attack useless as they notched up their lowest score ever at the ground.
Take nothing away from the Eagles, who were magnificent in defence early on – in particular Darren Glass – as they shut down Fremantle ‘s attacks and played strong rebounding football.
Luke Shuey’s attack and contested work set the tone early in the third quarter as the Eagles kicked five goals to Fremantle’s solitary behind.
The game started slowly and was dominated by congested play – a sign that Fremantle’s game plan was on top. But they failed to work the ball past the Eagles’ key defenders who repeatedly set up the play from the back half.
The second quarter was a slugfest, with the Eagles threatening in front of goal while Fremantle relied on the creating attacks on the break.
The problem for Fremantle in the first half was not the lack of attacking chances but the lack of forward line efficiency.
Zac Clarke kicked a goal, but was consistently outpointed by Glass, and the options were clear for coach Ross Lyon at the half. Leave things as they were and be over-run, or attempt to change proceedings with an early substitution.
Lyon subbed Clarke off and moved Pavlich forward in an attempt to revitalise the Fremantle front half, but it quickly became clear it was the wrong decision. Without Pavlich’s influence around the ground, the Eagles comfortably locked the ball up forward, resulting in 11 scoring shots for the quarter.
It’s a damning stat when you consider that Fremantle had only managed six for the game. You can blame the forwards, but they were obliterated in the forward 50 entries count as well (64-30) showing a clear issue with Freo’s attack.
Perhaps it is a result of the massive numbers Lyon employs behind the ball – if the run and carry options aren’t there, it will always leave a severe lack of options moving forward.
The damage was done by the midfield, who may have been slightly ahead at half-time but were completely dominant in the second half. They were lead by Matt Rosa who played the best game of his career, finishing with 43 disposals running at 86 per cent efficiency.
He was assisted brilliantly by Andrew Gaff (29 touches, 25 kicks), Matthew Priddis (28), Schuey (26) and Chris Masten (25) who controlled the stoppages with ease.
Fremantle on the other hand only had four players gather more than 20 disposals in what was a belting after half-time.
Their most fruitful quarter was the last, in which they managed to add 15 points to their tally. Dockers fans will have their patience severely tested, but it’s entirely possible that they simply don’t have the cattle to make the gameplan work on a weekly basis.
It was a staple of ‘Saints Footy’ that even in their losses they weren’t losing by much, but perhaps, as the last fortnight has shown, something is seriously astray in Fremantle.
3) - Rosa (WCE)
2) - Glass (WCE)
1) - Schuey (WCE)
West Coast: Hill 3, Darling 2, Priddis, Naitanui, Schofield, Lynch, Rosa, Shuey
Fremantle: Ballantyne, Clarke, Mayne, de Boer, Dawson
West Coast: Rosa, Glass, Shuey, Gaff, Waters, Hurn, Hill, Priddis
Fremantle: Johnson, Broughton, Pavlich, McPharlin, Barlow
West Coast: Butler (hamstring tightness)
West Coast: Jacob Brennan replaced Sam Butler in the third quarter
Fremantle: Jay van Berlo replaced Jon Griffin in the third quarter
Umpires: Farmer, Margetts, Dalgleish
Official crowd: 40,905 at Patersons Stadium