Fremantle coach Mark Harvey says his players executed their instructions perfectly to ruthlessly dispose of the Sydney Swans on their home ground for a second straight year.
In a battle of two top-eight teams Freo emerged victorious, prevailing by 11 points despite giving up a 39-point lead early in the last term.
Harvey says the club used the bye to thoroughly plan for the trip east, paying particular attention to tactics at the stoppages.
“When you have a break, like we had last week, you get a lot of time to plan and study and we did that,” Harvey told reporters after the match.
“Research was thorough but it’s how your players implement that on the back of all of it, and I thought we were a ruthless side today.”
Fremantle was brilliant in the third term, booting six unanswered majors and outscoring the home side by seven goals to two to lead by 38 points at the last change.
A Chris Mayne behind at the start of the final period increased the margin to 39, but Sydney brought the margin back to within one straight kick to ensure a grandstand finish.
Asked what prompted such a fightback, Harvey said the last quarter was “indicative” of taking a risk in selection in order to give some players in need of a hit out a game, such as Adam McPhee and Michael Barlow.
The tough, physical match was played in heavy conditions and occasional rain, with Fremantle suffering a number of injuries late in the game that cut the number of bench players available.
Roger Hayden left the game with a leg injury, while Michael Johnson was hit in the calf and Jonathon Griffin hurt his hip.
“It was a hard, tough game, it was warrior like you know, contested, tackling pressure all of those elements. Blokes are going to be sore,” Harvey said.
“Now it is up to us and how we pull up and how we make sure that we are ready for next week.”
Fremantle has seven days to freshen up and prepare for the season’s second Western derby against home-town rivals West Coast.
Fremantle lost the first one – played in round eight – by 33 points.
“The Eagles are a game ahead of us, they have been spoken up a lot and we understand exactly where this game sits,” Harvey said.
“It’s probably the ideal build-up really.”