Wounded Dockers go down to Dogs
Fremantle is counting the cost of it's clash with the Western Bulldogs, losing four players to injury in their 28 point loss at Optus Stadium on Sunday night.
Griffin Logue (concussion), Nat Fyfe (shoulder), Sean Darcy and Brennan Cox (hamstrings) all failed to finish the match, the Bulldogs capitalising on a wounded opponent as they recorded their first ever win at Optus Stadium, 13.15 (93) to 9.11 (65).
The Dogs led from the outset but had to stave off a brave Dockers outfit, Josh Treacy having a breakout game with three goals but the home side was again left to rue inaccuracy, missing gettable shots at important junctures in the match.
Fremantle efficient in the early stages despte the Bulldogs having the better of the opening term, Andrew Brayshaw's boundary line bender the highlight for Fremantle in a match that had it's fair share of spite early.
Dogs captain Marcus Bontempelli provided his side some spark with two long range goals to break the game open in the second term, Fremantle striking back in the third stanza to get within three points of the visitors, only for Tom Liberatore to follow his captain's lead with a brace of goals.
Western Bulldogs had lost ruckman Stefan Martin before half time due to an AC joint injury, Sean Darcy getting on top of Tim English in the ruck to give Fremantle's midfield first use.
The desperation of both teams was best exemplified by a brusing clash between Dogs forward Aaron Naughton and Dockers defender Griffin Logue, both players crashing in to one another in an aerial marking contest and both hitting the ground hard.
Logue came off second best, forced from the ground with concussion with medical substitute Tobe Watson injected in to the match for the final quarter.
With the Bulldogs leading by 8 points it was still anyone's game, but a calamitous 90 seconds on the injury front for the home side would change the context of the match.
Darcy came from the field with a hamstring injury, before Brennan Cox collapsed to the ground holding his hamstring having to be helped from the ground, skipper Nat Fyfe joining the casualty list just seconds later after dislocating his left shoulder.
It meant Fremantle was left with one fit player on the bench for the majority of the final term, the Dogs powering away from the home side with five goals to two for the quarter to win by 28 points.
Dockers defender Nathan Wilson endured a lamentable final term, likely to be sighted for a low blow to young Bulldog Cody Weightman while also conceding two free kicks that led directly to goals and a 50 metre penalty.
Jack Macrae continued his remarkable season with 35 disposals for the visitors, Bontempelli with 27 touches and 2.2 in a powerful midfield display while Lachie Hunter (27) and Caleb Daniel (23) also had an impact on the game.
Fremantle veteran David Mundy had 30 disposals with Brayshaw accumulating 27 touches and defender Luke Ryan having 25 disposals to go with 10 marks.
Dockers coach Justin Longmuir was frustrated by elements of his side's performance.
"I thought we were slow to start again but once we got into the game I thought it was pretty even," he said.
"But we played in straight lines which didn’t allow us to score."
"At three quarter time I thought we were in for a good show but the final quarter was carnage on the injury front."
Longmuir said scans would determine the severity of injuries for skipper Fyfe, Darcy and Cox as well as forward Mitch Crowden, who sustained a knock to his AC joint late in the match.
Matt Taberner was a late withdrawal with a foot injury, however he is likely to return for the clash against Gold Coast at Optus Stadium next Saturday.
IMAGE: Fox Sports.