Fremantle downed by Dogs
Western Bulldogs 9.3 14.5 18.9 24.14 (158)
Fremantle 3.0 5.2 9.3 12.4 (76)
Western Bulldogs: Hall 4, Griffen 3, Lake 3, Grant 3, Moles 2, Johnson 2, Picken 2, Higgins 2, Cooney, Wood, Giansiracusa
Fremantle: Pavlich 4, Johnson, Ballantyne, Hasleby, McPhee, Crichton, Palmer, Fyfe, Ibbotson
Western Bulldogs: Griffen, Cooney, Boyd, Hudson, Murphy, Roughead, Cross, Harbrow
Fremantle: McPharlin, Suban, Hayden, Johnson, Pavlich
Western Bulldogs: Nil
Fremantle: Mundy (illness) out, replaced in selected side by Hasleby
Umpires: Farmer, Chamberlain, McInerney
Official crowd: 26,797 at Etihad Stadium
THE FREMANTLE Dockers have put their top four hopes at risk after succumbing to the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium on Sunday afternoon by 82 points.
The Dogs set up their win with a dazzling nine-goal opening term, during which Adam Cooney and Ryan Griffen ran riot in the midfield.
Fremantle captain Matthew Pavlich booted four goals, and Paul Hasleby was a late inclusion after David Mundy withdrew with illness, and Fremantle faces a fine, as the change was made after the team sheets had been finalised.
It was a dirty day all round for the visitors, as the Bulldogs put on a brilliant display of fast and efficient football.
They did the damage in the initial half-hour, with superstar Brian Lake kick-starting their charge.
Having lined up at full-forward, the usual defender made the most of some superb delivery from Cooney to boot the first two goals of the match.
Griffen ended the match with 24 possessions and three goals, and the returning Barry Hall finished with four majors, as the Bulldogs booted their highest score of the season to prevail 24.14 (158) to 12.4 (76).
The home side dominated all over the park, with Ben Hudson getting the better of Aaron Sandilands in the ruck, while Cooney (36 touches), Matthew Boyd, Jordan Roughead, Jarrod Harbrow and Daniel Cross (in his 150th game) were other important contributors.
By quarter-time, Griffen had bobbed up with three majors of his own, including a 60-metre bomb on the run, and the Bulldogs enjoyed a 39-point lead.
Rodney Eade’s men continued their charge in the second stanza.
When Hall, who had an entertaining duel with McPharlin, slotted his fourth goal in the 13th minute, they were 50 points up.
The margin was 57 by the long break and the contest was all but over.
Freo, which has fallen to fifth on the ladder, was a fraction more competitive in the second half, but the heavy defeat has severely dented their hopes of making an impact in the finals.
The Bulldogs will be aiming to continue their charge towards September when they front up against North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium next Sunday.
Fremantle, meanwhile, must beat the Eagles in the western derby in a week’s time to keep its top-four hopes alive.