PORT ADELAIDE 1.2 1.3 2.7 6.12 (48)
FREMANTLE 5.2 6.7 9.9 11.9 (75)
In front of a meagre crowd, just short of 15,000; Fremantle has kept its increasingly slim finals hopes alive by making easy work of Port Adelaide at AAMI Stadium.
An early burst of goals by Ross Lyon’s perennial underachievers was the defining factor in the match with Port, having come back from a win against Melbourne in Darwin, looking slow from the start.
Nathan Fyfe starred on his return to the Dockers side; the highly fancied flanker found the ball 26 times and booted a goal, proving his fitness after that shoulder injury that he sustained earlier in the year.
In a trend for the round, Port Adelaide found themselves with no more than a goal and a few points to their name at the first break, similar to Melbourne and Essendon in the days prior.
In an even worse turn, they booted just one point in the second quarter to finish the half on 1 goal 3 and down by 34 points to their wasteful opponents.
The absences of Jay Schulz, Robbie Grey and John Butcher were more apparent than ever, with the midfield not having the opportunity to find a target with the limited inside 50 chances they had.
Fremantle, led by their consistently excellent captain Matthew Pavlich, found themselves up by 44 points at the main break; before Port fought back to keep it to a respectable 27 point margin.
Fremantle’s inability to hit the scoreboard would have been a source of frustration to Lyon, with his side sitting 9th on the ladder but suffering with a percentage of just over 106%.
Juxtaposed with North Melbourne’s 110% in 8th place, and St Kilda’s 121% in 10th – the Dockers will be wondering why Pavlich missed 3 of his 5 set shots and Michael Barlow failed to hit the scoreboard in a major way from the midfield in scoring 0.2.
Matthew Primus, meanwhile, finds himself in yet another spot of bother. With a GWS game to save face next week, the coach will need to oversee a victory over a side whose 78 point loss to Melbourne 6 weeks ago has led to a 100+ point average losing margin since.
If he manages to lose to the Giants, he’d be rightly nervous about his status as coach – but that fantasy would take the greatest achievement in footy chokelore to become a reality.
Freo, meanwhile, will host West Coast at Patterson’s Stadium on Saturday in what is sure to be a red hot Derby. With the Dockers looking to leapfrog North into 8th and the Eagles hoping to skip above the Crows into 4th, we can expect an even more passionate game than usual.
3 – Kane Cornes continued an unusual rich vein of form by gathering 31 touches and a goal.
2 – Nathan Fyfe was very good on return with 26 touches and a goal.
1 – Michael Barlow couldn’t impact on the scoreboard, but his 7 tackles and 24 disposals were encouraging.
Port Adelaide: Brett Ebert 2, Stewart, Boak, Westhoff, Cornes
Fremantle: Mayne 2, Pearce 2, Pavlich 2, Fyfe, Mundy, Mzungu, Sutcliffe, Walters
Port Adelaide: Nil
Port Adelaide: Aaron Young replaced Jackson Trengove in the fourth quarter
Fremantle: Cameron Sutcliffe replaced Michael Walters in the fourth quarter
Port Adelaide: Nil
Umpires: Foot, Ryan, Mollison
Official crowd: 14,583 at AAMI Stadium