Freo surrenders healthy lead
Hawthorn 3.4 6.5 9.8 17.9 (111)
Fremantle 3.1 8.4 12.8 13.11 (89)
Hawthorn: Hill 3, Mayne 2, Pearce 2, Mzungu, de Boer, Fyfe, Duffield, Crowley, Griffin
Fremantle: Rioli 5, Breust 3, Burgoyne 2, Osborne 2, Young, Whitecross, Hodge, Mitchell, Roughead
Hawthorn: Osborne, Rioli, Hodge, Mitchell, Breust, Roughead
Fremantle: Broughton, Hill, Crowley, Fyfe, Duffield, Griffin
Hawthorn: Hodge (cramp)
Fremantle: Fyfe (shoulder)
Hawthorn: Jordan Lisle replaced by Luke Breust during the third quarter
Fremantle: Clancee Pearce replaced by Rhys Palmer during the final quarter
Umpires: Vozzo, Jennings, Pannell
Official crowd: 31,925 at MCG
Fremantle has missed a golden opportunity to snap its four-year losing streak at the MCG after giving up a 28-point lead to lose to Hawthorn by 22 points on Sunday afternoon.
The Hawks kicked the last eight goals of the match to win 17.9 (111) to 13.11 (89) after trailing by 18 points at the final break.
Outstanding fourth quarters from Sam Mitchell, Luke Hodge, Jarryd Roughead and Grant Birchall influenced the win – Hawthorn’s fifth in a row.
Fremantle, after winning the second and third quarters and reaching its game-high lead of 28 points at the nine-minute mark of the third, lost its eighth final term in a row at the MCG, and ninth consecutive match at the ground.
The Western Australian side has not won at the MCG since it beat Melbourne there in round four, 2007.
Mark Harvey’s side, currently struggling with an injury list headlined by No.1 ruckman Aaron Sandilands, Roger Hayden and Adam McPhee, looked good despite the swirly conditions until three-quarter time, when it relinquished the edge in the midfield.
The Hawks easily won the midfield battle in the final term registering 15 to 10 clearances and 51 to 34 contested possessions as they piled on eight goals to Fremantle’s one.
Fremantle’s Nat Fyfe was the man at the stoppages with six clearances and put his body on the line consistently with 13 contested possessions, while Greg Broughton had 29 touches and laid five tackles, but was most influential in giving his side attacking chances with 11 inside 50s.
What it means
It’s back to the drawing board for Fremantle regarding its last quarter efforts at the MCG, and just why the side can’t pull a win together at the most famous ground in Australian football. It’ll be a tough week as the coaches work out how to arrest their form slump that has seen them lose four of their last five starts in the midst of their injury crisis.
News from the west came through on Saturday that Fremantle midfielder Michael Barlow had made a successful return to football after 11 months sidelined with the leg he horrifically broke in round 14 against Port Adelaide last year. Barlow had 15 touches in a half playing for the Peel Thunder reserves, and said after the game he could have kept playing. A decision on where he plays next week will be made over the next few days based on how he pulls up.
What the coach said
Fremantle – Mark Harvey
“We allowed them too much space forward of the stoppages…we allowed them to play their way in the last quarter too easy.
“It can be reflective of a number of things. They play a very demanding brand of football of which we probably curtailed for three quarters and then we lost some of balance and structure when the pressure was on.
“It’s more got to do with how players got caught at stoppages and then some of their forwards walking our defenders up to stoppages and then getting them over the back.”
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Fremantle: In the absence of ruckman Sandilands, Griffin played his best match in Fremantle colours and scored 115 points. He was just overshadowed by Broughton, who finished with a tally of 117 after easily leading his side for possessions.
The next four
Fremantle: Mark Harvey’s men will return home to take on Essendon next Sunday afternoon, followed by another trip to the MCG to face Melbourne. Fremantle then enjoy back-to-back matches at Patersons Stadium against the struggling Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast Suns.
Quarter by quarter
While the Hawks were adorned in their eye-catching Kokoda-themed guernsey to raise funds for the Kokoda Track Foundation, it was their opponents who started brighter with an early goal to Chris Mayne. Fremantle looked to mix its personnel up forward, starting with Hayden Ballantyne and Mayne forward before moving in tall timber Zac Clarke and Kepler Bradley. After Jarryd Roughead, Clinton Young and debutant Jordan Lisle wasted chances in front of goal, it took the Hawks almost 14 minutes to kick their first through Young. Further goals to Tendai Mzungu and David Mundy had Freo stretch its lead to 10 points before two goals in less than two minutes to livewire Cyril Rioli wrestled back the lead for Hawthorn.
Hawthorn by three points.
In the absence of Lance Franklin, Rioli was the focal point forward and he kicked his third in the opening minutes. With Matthew Pavlich and Stephen Hill struggling to have any impact, the Hawks stifled their opponents’ run through the corridor as well as exerting great defensive pressure, leading to a Brendan Whitecross goal. But Freo began to find its mojo after Clancee Pearce made Brent Guerra pay for a brain-fade at the kick-out. It changed the momentum of the match, with Mark Harvey’s side dominating the centre clearances and linking up through the middle to kick four unanswered goals. Nathan Fyfe was at his brilliant best, while Greg Broughton was finding plenty of the ball with eight possessions. Often clinical by foot, the Hawks’ skill errors proved costly as they found themselves nearly two goals down at the main break.
Fremantle by 11 points.
It took less than a minute for Fremantle to extend its lead after another turnover from Grant Birchall in Hawthorn’s defensive 50. The Hawks’ game style of controlling possession by foot through short kicks was unraveling, with the Freo chant in full voice after a goal to Jonathon Griffin, who was impressive in the absence of Aaron Sandilands. But a mistake from the ruckman then gave Rioli his fourth goal, and soon after he had five and Hawthorn were back in the contest. It was the Freo youngsters who had the answers and again made Hawthorn pay for sloppy foot skills from defence, with two goals to Hill. A late goal to sub Luke Breust after some sensational work from Birchall across half-back kept the Hawks in touch.
Fremantle by 18 points.
All day, Hawthorn had struggled with their kick-ins and Fremantle’s relentless pressure led to the all-important first goal to Hill but Breust answered quickly with his second through heavy traffic. Hodge began to have an impact at the stoppages as Hawks supporters found their voice, and a goal to Osborne and another to Breust and the Hawks were on top. When Shaun Burgoyne burst through the pack and kicked truly, the margin was just one point. For the first time since midway through the second quarter, the Hawks regained the lead with Hodge sneaking home his first goal. In an amazing turnaround, the Hawks kicked eight unanswered goals to run away with a phenomenal win.
Hawthorn wins by 22 points.