Freo falter against sore Saints
Fremantle 0.3 1.5 4.10 7.14 (56)
St Kilda 4.4 8.8 12.9 15.12 (102)
Fremantle: Broughton 2, Bradley, Duffield, Hill, Palmer, Pavlich
St Kilda: Schneider 4, Peake 3, Jones 2, Montagna 2, Armitage, Milne, Siposs, Steven
Fremantle: McPharlin, Grover, Broughton, Griffin
St Kilda: Dal Santo, Montagna, Steven, Fisher, Schneider, Jones, Gilbert
St Kilda: Goddard (neck), Dempster (head), Blake (knee), Lynch (finger)
Fremantle: Dylan Roberton replaced Jay van Berlo in the third quarter
St Kilda: Nicholas Winmar replaced Brendon Goddard at quarter time
Reports: Brett Peake (St Kilda) for striking Dylan Roberton (Fremantle) in the third quarter
Umpires: Margetts, Jeffery, Mollison
Official crowd: 35,483 at Patersons Stadium
Fremantle has suffered its seventh consecutive loss to St Kilda, going down to the revitalised outfit by 46 points at Patersons Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Despite the loss of Brendon Goddard, who was taken to hospital after suffering a neck injury late in the first quarter, the Saints dug deep and thumped Fremantle 15.12 (102) to 7.14 (56), placing the home side’s place in the top eight in jeopardy.
It was St Kilda’s seventh consecutive win against Fremantle and its sixth on the trot at Patersons Stadium, with Lyon undefeated against Freo counterpart Mark Harvey.
Where Fremantle was stagnant and unsure with its ball-use, St Kilda took risks and hit targets and was rewarded on the scoreboard.
Fremantle was left contemplating its sixth consecutive loss without star ruckman Aaron Sandilands, who is sidelined with a toe injury for another three matches.
Ruck recruit Jon Griffin battled hard against Ben McEvoy, who replaced Justin Koschitzke in the Saints’ final line-up, but Freo stars David Mundy (21 possessions), Matthew Pavlich (20) and Nat Fyfe (23) were still well held.
The home side’s only winners were key defenders Luke McPharlin and Antoni Grover, who had the better of Saints Nick Riewoldt, who was goalless, and Stephen Milne (one goal) respectively.
Fremantle had a brief window in the third term when it appeared capable of mounting a challenge, but Hayden Ballantyne, Kepler Bradley, Garrick Ibbotson and Chris Mayne all missed shots on goal.
Stats that mattered
The uncontested possession in the first half told the story, with the Saints winning that indicator 133-88. They were far more adept at retaining possession as Fremantle butchered the ball midfield and struggled without star ruckman Sandilands to kick long down the line to.
Fremantle won the clearances 42-39, but the Saints built their midfield dominance around the centre hit-outs, winning the centre clearances a massive 13-4. Dal Santo had four himself.
What it means
Fremantle could end the round outside the top eight, having been comfortably inside the top four after round six. Harvey’s side has won one game since, as injuries take their toll. Classy midfielder Michael Barlow is needed now, but he faces three to five weeks in the WAFL as he recovers from a broken leg, starting next Saturday.
Dream Team highlights
Fremantle: Paul Duffield and Greg Broughton have struggled this season, averaging 69 and 66 respectively, but both bounced back to form on Saturday, each notching 120 points. David Mundy (101) was the only other Fremantle player to break 100. Tendai Mzungu scored 85 in his second game, making him an ideal target next week.
Quarter by quarter
Brett Peake kicked the Saints’ opener in the first minute, sounding the alarm bells immediately for Fremantle. Whenever Fremantle looked like getting on a roll, the Saints would rally to shut down their attack. Clinton Jones proved his inclusion was significant, kicking two of his team’s four goals, but the hearts of Saints’ fans sunk when Brendon Goddard collided with teammate Zac Dawson in the final minute of the quarter. St Kilda dominated the possession count and it showed on the scoreboard.
Taking a 25-point lead into the second period, St Kilda were without star midfielder Goddard who was replaced by substitute Nicholas Winmar. Although the Dockers began clearing the ball more effectively, it was the Saints who kicked the first goal of the quarter thanks to the advantage rule, with David Armitage converting from 15m directly in front. A magnificent running goal from Peake from the centre square then surged St Kilda 37 points in front of their opponents. Fremantle finally registered their first goal, with Paul Duffield marking inside 50 and converting from a 45-degree angle. At the 18th minute, Montagna cleared the ball to snap a goal from the half-forward line just outside 50, in a half which saw St Kilda return to its best form.
Poor kicking and decision-making proved fatal for Fremantle in the third term. Schneider asserted his dominance in the Saints’ forward line, dribbling three goals to increase his team’s sheer ascendancy over a hapless Fremantle. Midway through the quarter, a costly missed goal from Chris Mayne turned the ball over to the Saints, who carried the ball to their forward line for one of Schneider’s majors. A clever snap directly in front from Greg Broughton, who gathered a loose ball in the Dockers forward half, was a rare Fremantle highlight.
St Kilda picked up exactly where it left off in the third term, with Schneider booting his fourth goal 17 seconds into the quarter, but a relatively even final quarter meant the margin stayed under 50 points. Nick Dal Santo continued to gather possessions to finish as the game’s leading possession getter. Another clash between Jason Blake and Sean Dempster saw the stretcher come out for the second time in the match to escort Dempster off the field with minutes remaining in the term, the second sour note to St Kilda’s comprehensive victory.
The next four
Fremantle: It doesn’t get any easier for the injury hit Freo, taking on Hawthorn at the MCG next Sunday before facing Essendon at Patersons Stadium. Clashes with Melbourne (MCG) and the Brisbane Lions (Patersons Stadium) round out the next month, after which key players are expected to return.