Undermanned Freo falls to Dogs
FREMANTLE 5.7 6.7 9.12 9.14 (68)
WESTERN BULLDOGS 0.3 7.11 7.11 14.14 (98)
Fremantle: Crowley 3, Palmer 2, Sandilands, McPhee, Bradley, Johnson
Western Bulldogs: Skinner 4, Hill 2, Tutt 2, Howard, Veszpremi, Hahn, Jones, Hooper, Minson
Fremantle: Sandilands, Suban, Crowley, Palmer, Mzungu, Johnson, Fyfe
Western Bulldogs: Skinner, Stack, Moles, Hill, Wallis, Cross, Addison, Tutt
Western Bulldogs: Nil
Umpires: Margetts, Stewart, Dalgleish
Crowd: 4000 (est.) at Hands Oval in Bunbury
Fremantle has suffered a five-goal defeat to the Western Bulldogs in blustery conditions at Bunbury’s Hands Oval on Saturday night.
Fremantle lost 9.14 (68) to 14.14 (98) in a game that saw 22 of the 23 goals scored at one end of the ground because of a howling gale.
Coach Mark Harvey’s decision to use three interchange players and a substitute in a bid to replicate what sides will face when the premiership season begins probably cost his side any chance of victory.
Even though the Bulldogs chose to rotate a number of players through an expanded interchange bench, Harvey was unrepentant given his focus is on round one when the new law comes into effect.
“Effectively we’ve all got to come back to three [on the bench] and one [substitute], and it will be interesting to see and summarise games when that happens.”
He also said Fremantle would aim to get its full side on the park for next weekend’s final NAB Challenge match with Pavlich, David Mundy and Stephen Hill to come in.
“Now it’s about getting to see your team playing together now, and we will be somewhere next week near our round one team,” he said.
“That’s when you start to judge us.”
In a major plus for Fremantle, Hayden Ballantyne came through the match unscathed after spending the first half on the bench.
The lively forward suffered a foot fracture on the eve of last year’s finals, and although a little rusty, was a welcome presence for his side deep in attack.
For the winners, high-flying recruit Zephaniah Skinner was the highlight, finishing the match with four goals.
They were without a host of senior players, including captain Matthew Boyd, Daniel Giansiracusa, Shaun Higgins, Lindsay Gilbee, Justin Sherman, Tom Williams, Jarrad Grant, Liam Picken and Barry Hall.
Daniel Cross led the side, while Fremantle was captained by Chris Mayne in the absence of Matthew Pavlich, who was rested.
The influential wind enabled Fremantle to get the early jump and push out to a 34-point lead by quarter time with the Bulldogs managing just three behinds for the first term.
The Dogs then piled on 7.8 to Fremantle’s one goal in the second quarter to lead by 10 points at the main break.
Rodney Eade’s men failed to score in the third quarter while Mark Harvey’s charges kicked three goals to take a 13-point lead into the last break.
The Dogs steadied to kick seven goals to Fremantle’s two behinds in the final quarter as they ran out comfortable five-goal winners.