Lions maul disappointing Dockers
Fremantle's finals hopes have taken a huge hit, beaten by 64 points by a resurgent Brisbane Lions outfit at Optus Stadium on Sunday.
The Dockers, who began the round in eighth spot have now dropped to 12th on the table, the loss crippling their percentage with matches still to come against West Coast and St Kilda.
Brisbane forward Joe Daniher’s four goals was his equal-highest return as a Lion, as Lincoln McCarthy chipped in with three. Speedster Travis Colyer was Fremantle’s only multiple goal scorer with three.
The Lions look to have left their top-four run too late, but having dropped three of their past four games before coming to Perth they now have some momentum to launch their September campaign.
Brisbane relished the tough going in the wet, out-tackling the Dockers 71 to 35.
Fremantle edged the final inside-50 count 53-52, but conjured only 14 scoring shots to the Lions’ 28.
Andrew Brayshaw was a clear target after his career-best heroics last week, receiving plenty of attention from Jarrod Berry, but battled on for 25 touches and four clearances.
The Dockers were set the task of chasing the game after a calamitous opening term where most things that could go wrong did.
Defender Nathan Wilson didn’t see Zac Bailey swooping in and coughed up a simple goal after being too slow to get rid of the ball, while the Lions were gifted two majors from 50m penalties.
The Lions followed it up with four goals to one in the second term, with their efficiency, class and decision making all on show as they took a 45-point lead to half-time despite Fremantle edging the clearance count 17-16 and enjoying their share of supply.
Daniher’s brilliant set shot, for his third goal, from close to the boundary line after the half-time siren stood in contrast to Schultz’s earlier effort on a day the visitors tended to make the hard look easy and the home side the easy look hard.
The Dockers got three of the first four goals of the third term on the back of the growing presence of their marking forwards, but Brisbane again had all the answers to quickly kill off any comeback thoughts Fremantle might have harboured.
Both players were forced to use their medical substitute, with Wilson (hamstring) and Mitch Robinson (calf) exiting the game in the final term.
Dockers coach Justin Longmuir lamented his team's latest poor showing against a top 8 contender.
"We came up against a really mature side that were hungry. They brought really good pressure, really good hunt and we just didn’t deal with it," he said.
"That’s been a bit of a theme against the better sides and we’ve got a level at the moment that we play at and once a team brings more than that we can’t absorb it and can’t play our way.
Fremantle face cross town rivals West Coast in their final home match of the season in round 22.