Houghton haul sees Dockers dominate Eagles
Gemma Houghton's five goals and another dominant performance from Kiara Bowers has helped Fremantle to a dominant victory over West Coast to the tune of 67 points at Optus Stadium on Sunday.
Bowers tallied 24 disposals, nine clearances, and six tackles to win the medal as best afield in the 11.9 (75) to 1.2 (8) triumph.
It means Bowers has won the medal in all three of the AFLW western derbies, with the Dockers coming up trumps in each match.
Houghton almost snared the award ahead of Bowers courtesy of a five-goal, 15-disposal effort, while Sabreena Duffy chipped in with three goals.
But in the end it was Bowers' in-and-under work and classy clearances that set up the midfield annihilation and the eventual damage on the scoreboard.
Bowers tallied a whopping five centre clearances, and 18 of her possessions were contested. Ebony Antonio was also a key contributor.
West Coast's Aisling McCarthy tried hard and finished with 22 possessions and four clearances, while Isabella Lewis collected 17 disposals.
There was drama pre-match when West Coast's mascot - a real eagle - went rogue during what was supposed to be a single lap of the ground.
The eagle went off track and landed in the grandstand, with fans told to stop moving during the warm-up so the bird could be captured.
The action on the field was just as scary for the Eagles as Fremantle went on a rampage.
Bowers' excellent work at the clearances was the standout in the first half, with her pin-point skills and hard tackling also proving crucial.
The half-time stats were damning for West Coast.
Fremantle won the contested possessions 66-36, the inside 50s 18-7, and clearances 18-5.
The result? A 35-1 lead for the Dockers by the long break.
Key forward Roxy Roux took two big pack marks in the third quarter to continue Fremantle's dominance, while Houghton also booted two goals for the term to take her tally to four.
West Coast at least did score their first goal of the match - via Grace Kelly - midway through the term, but the margin was 59 points at the final change.
The big question was whether Houghton could match the AFLW record of seven goals by the end of the match.
She was well held in the final term, but she managed to boot a fifth goal in the final minute of the match in what was just rewards for a classy effort.
"It was incredible. All those goals were team effort goals," Houghton told Fox Sports.
"The girls played amazing today and it showed on the scoreboard. I was a bit quiet the last couple of weeks. I knew I had to fire up a bit."
IMAGE: AFL website.