Dockers go down to Lions at the Gabba
Fremantle has recorded a second straight loss, suffering a 24 point defeat at the hands of Brisbane at the Gabba on Sunday night.
The injury depleted Dockers had several early injury concerns, Michael Frederick substituted out of the game in the opening quarter with a left ankle injury while Reece Conca (hamstring) and Sean Darcy (ankle) played out the game under duress as the visitors trailed at every change.
Justin Longmuir's side were initially scheduled to play at home in the round 8 contest, only for Western Australia's recent COVID-19 cases to see the two fixtures between the clubs swapped around, the Lions now to face Fremantle at Optus Stadium in round 21.
Fremantle opened the goal scoring in the opening minute when Fremantle young gun Caleb Serong kicked truly, Brisbane quickly hitting back through Eric Hipwood.
Charlie Cameron was electric early for the Lions, causing opponent Reece Conca all sorts of bother in the opening stanza as he had four scoring shots for 1.3 before the former Tiger limped from the ground with a hamstring injury.
Michael Frederick had already joined him in the casualty room with a left ankle injury, substituted from the game before quarter time as the Lions began to pull away from their opponents with a five goal opening term.
Conca returned in the second term and ruckman Sean Darcy shrugged off an awkward landing on his ankle but Brisbane were handing out more pain, kicking three more goals to lead by 34 points at the half.
The Dockers couldn't quite get close enough in the third term, Nat Fyfe finally registering a goal after his recent goal kicking woes while Matt Taberner maintained his multiple goal scoring streak in games in 2021 with his second, but the Lions had an answer at every turn as they kicked four goals for the quarter to turn for home with a 32 point lead.
Joe Daniher and Oscar McInerney pushed the lead out to 44 points early in the last and looked set to record a percentage booster, only for Fremantle to dig their heels in with the last three goals of the contest to reduce the margin to 24 points at the final siren.
In truth it was a comfortable win for the home side with Fremantle playing catch up football throughout, unable to match Brisbane around the contest and without the same skill going inside 50.
Daniel Rich continued his outstanding form, the West Australian with 31 disposals (28 kicks) across half back while Jarryd Lyons showed his star qualities in the continued absence of Brownlow Medallist and former Docker Lachie Neale, racking up 30 touches and kicking a goal, Hugh McCluggage also outstanding with 27 touches and a major.
Andrew Brayshaw (28 touches) and skipper Fyfe (27 touches and 1.3) as well as veteran David Mundy (27 and a goal) all played solid games for Fremantle, Caleb Serong and Taberner each with two majors.
Dockers coach Justin Longmuir bemoaned his side's ineffectiveness with the ball in hand going inside 50.
"I think the basics let us down again," he said.
"Their efficiency going forward off the back of our turnovers was way better than us."
Fremantle will remain in Queensland before heading to Melbourne for their round nine clash with Essendon next Sunday, Brisbane to head down the highway to Metricon Stadium for their Q-Clash with Gold Coast on Saturday.
IMAGE: Fox Sports