Freo romps into second
Fremantle 6.5 8.8 18.12 21.13 (139)
North Melbourne 2.1 4.3 7.8 11.12 (78)
Fremantle: Pavlich 4, Bradley 4, Fyfe 3, Mayne 2, Ballantyne 2, Hasleby, Hill, Ibbotson, Suban, van Berlo, Sandilands
North Melbourne: Thomas 5, Harding, Hansen, Firrito, O’Keefe, Harvey, Wright
Fremantle: Mundy, Bradley, Fyfe, Ballantyne, van Berlo, Suban, Crowley, Grover
North Melbourne: Thomas, Swallow, Bastinac, Grima, Ziebell
Fremantle: Michael Barlow (hamstring) replaced in selected side by Clancee Pearce
North Melbourne: Brent Harvey (elbow)
Umpires: Hay, Meredith, Ryan
Official crowd: 36,175 at Subiaco Oval
FREMANTLE has continued its best ever start to a season and surged to outright second on the AFL ladder with an emphatic 61-point win over North Melbourne at Subiaco Oval on Sunday.
Fremantle produced a devastating 10-goal third term, the equal best quarter of its history, and finished with 11 separate goalkickers to win 21.13 (139) to 11.12 (78).
The game was still in the balance at the start of the third term, with North 23 points adrift, before Fremantle went on an irresistible run to post its best score and biggest win of the season.
Fremantle moved the ball daringly through the corridor and went inside 50 15 times for 14 scoring results in the third term.
Nat Fyfe, who backed up his NAB Rising Star nomination with 27 possessions and three goals, was a star in the second half, while David Mundy (31 possessions and six clearances) took charge in the centre square all day and was best afield.
With Matthew Pavlich down on his usual best early, rapidly improving utility Kepler Bradley stood up in the forward line, kicking four goals from his 21 possessions.
“He’s a good sidekick for Aaron [Sandilands],” Fremantle coach Mark Harvey said after the game. “A lot of focus goes on Aaron and Kepler’s part of the show.”
Hayden Ballantyne, who was relentless with his forward pressure and unselfish when he had the ball, finished with 19 possessions and six score assists.
Clancee Pearce was also a valuable contributor after replacing Michael Barlow, who has a minor hamstring injury, in the selected side.
Harvey said he sensed a good energy in his side before the bounce and the forward line pressure that eventually overwhelmed North Melbourne was the result.
Ballantyne, Adam McPhee and Chris Mayne combined for 16 tackles with all three creating goals with crunching forward line tackles.
“We just had plenty of energy,” the coach said. “Even in the warm up you could sense that our guys were ‘on’, and it doesn’t always turn out that way.”
There were few winners for North, with Lindsay Thomas booting five goals and Nathan Grima having the better of Pavlich early.
Captain Brent Harvey had a horror day opposed to disciplined Freo midfielder Jay van Berlo, finishing with just 10 possessions and injuring his left elbow late in the third quarter.
He didn’t return after the last break, but coach Brad Scott said he was being cautious with his star midfielder, who missed seven matches in 2009 with a dislocated right elbow.
Scott said with his captain beaten alongside a number of senior players, too much was left to the side’s youngsters.
“We showed minimal fight throughout the whole game and fought back a little bit towards the end, but far too much was left to too few,” Scott said after the game. “The too few it was left to were 20 years of age and younger.
“The good sides are really teaching us lessons at the moment and unless we get 22 even contributors, we get exposed against the good sides at the moment.
“We need some guys to stand up and show some more fight than they did today.”
North Melbourne faces the Brisbane Lions at Etihad Stadium next week, while Fremantle travels to AAMI Stadium to face the Crows.