FREMANTLE 5.7 8.9 12.11 14.12 (96)
GEELONG 0.1 3.5 6.9 11.14 (80)
Fremantle have produced one of the most stunning first quarter performances in finals history, on their way to an historical 16 point victory over Geelong. They dominated the Cats from the outset by any and every measurement available, including effort and intensity.
Geelong’s work rate seemed non-existent. They failed to chase or work hard with any desperation when they didn’t have the ball, or to run hard to create options when they did have it. That’s not to play down how good Fremantle were. Their defensive pressure and organization was first class, and would have taken Geelong’s best efforts to penetrate. The Docker’s attack on the ball and commitment in the air was that of a side with genuine claims to make an impact this September.
Matthew Pavlich was a class above kicking three of Fremantle’s five goals for the quarter, and had it not been for a number of easy missed chances the 36 point margin should have been more.
The first 15 minutes of the second quarter was more of the same. The ball was almost exclusively in Fremantle’s front half as they pushed the margin out to 48 points. David Mundy was finding plenty of the ball and managed to find space in heavy traffic a number of times, and Michael Barlow also played a big part in Fremantle’s midfield dominance.
Almost unbelievably it took Geelong until the 18 minute mark of the second quarter to register their first goal.
Immediately it was as if the Cats collectively snapped their fingers and decided they would start doing the things that are mandatory to win finals – they started applying defensive pressure, hitting contests harder than their opponents, running hard to support one another…..in other words, all of a sudden they started having a go. By half time they had reduced the margin back to 34 points.
After the break the champion Geelong side that we’ve become so accustomed to watching in September came out doing what they do best. Joel Selwood and Jimmy Bartel stamped their mark through the middle, Paul Chapman was starting to look creative, and the Geelong forward line started to function.
The Cats kicked 3 of first 4 goals drawing the margin back to 21 points, and looked set to run over the top of the Dockers. However it was Fremantle’s response when challenged that was probably more impressive than their phenomenal start.
Matthew Pavlich and Hayden Ballantyne lifted and kicked successive goals, followed quickly by a goal to Michael Walters. Fremantle had thus far withstood Geelong’s best efforts for a comeback, and went into the final change 38 points ahead.
Geelong threw everything they had at Fremantle in the last quarter, and once again looked like they were going to run over the Dockers and produce another champion victory in September. They were running on top of the ground and putting the Dockers under immense pressure. When Josh Hunt kicked his second goal for the quarter, the Cats were back within 17 points with 10 minutes left of the clock.
Yet once again with the game in the balance, Pavlich showed his class with a side step around Tom Lonergan, and a beautiful goal to finish off Geelong’s season.
3- Matthew Pavlich
2 – Hayden Ballantyne
1 – David Mundy
Fremantle: Pavlich 6, Ballantyne 3, Walters 2, Crowley, De Boer, Pearce
Geelong: Mackie 2, Hunt 2, Christensen, Duncan, Motlop, Selwood, Stokes, Vardy, Taylor
Fremantle: Pavlich, Ballantyne, Mundy, Barlow, Walters
Geelong: Selwood, Mackie, Bartel, Corey, Duncan
Geelong: Jonathan Simpkin replaced Jordan Murdoch in the third quarter.
Fremantle: Nick Suban replaced Leigh Spurr in the fourth quarter.
Reports: James Kelly (Geelong) reported for rough conduct on Tendai Mzungu by umpire Pannell in the third quarter.
Umpires: Bannister, Pannell, Rosebury
Official crowd: 44,460 at the MCG