Freo downed by Pies
Collingwood 6.0 12.4 17.9 20.12 (132)
Fremantle 2.0 2.2 4.2 8.4 (52)
Collingwood: Cloke 4, Krakouer 4, Wood 3, Swan 2, Beams 2, Pendlebury 2, Sidebottom, Blair, Fasolo
Fremantle: Bradley 2, Fyfe 2, Crowley 2, Lower, Sandilands
Collingwood: Swan, Pendlebury, Cloke, Didak, Davis, Beams, Krakouer
Fremantle: Barlow, Lower, Sandilands, Hill, Anthony, Fyfe
Collingwood: Darren Jolly (cut hand)
Fremantle: Garrick Ibbotson (left shoulder), Peter Faulks (fractured cheekbone)
Collingwood: Leon Davis replaced by Tom Young in the third quarter
Fremantle: Garrick Ibbotson (left shoulder) replaced by Clayton Hinkley in the second quarter
Umpires: Margetts, Findlay, Ryan
Official crowd: 31,985 at Patersons Stadium
Collingwood has pushed its finals preparations into another gear with a dominant 80-point win over an injury-decimated Fremantle at Patersons Stadium on Friday night.
In a clinical show of strength against a wounded opponent, Collingwood kicked 13 unanswered goals in a 76-minute stretch between the first and third quarters, opening up a game-high 91-point lead en route to the 20.12 (132) to 8.4 (52) victory.
Fremantle, to its credit, never stopped fighting, kicking six of the last 10 goals to win the final quarter and avoid what looked at times like being a record-breaking loss.
Collingwood midfielder Dane Swan was unstoppable, winning 35 possessions in a best-on-ground performance, with Magpies runners Scott Pendlebury (36), Dayne Beams (31) and Alan Didak (31) also prominent.
Forward Travis Cloke kicked four goals opposed to star Fremantle defender Luke McPharlin, but Chris Dawes’s return to the side was less spectacular, with former Magpie Jack Anthony holding him to just seven possessions and without a goal.
The win equalled Collingwood’s third-longest winning streak of 14 games, with its only loss this year coming against next Friday night’s opponent, Geelong.
The four points could come at a cost, however, with star midfielder Dale Thomas likely to face scrutiny after leaving the ground and collecting half-back Garrick Ibbotson front on and high with a bump.
Thomas has 68.75 carryover points following a one-match ban served earlier this season for striking St Kilda stopper Clint Jones.
There was also a lengthy break in play early in the third quarter after second-gamer Peter Faulks suffered a fractured cheekbone and broken jaw in a sickening collision with Collingwood ruckman Cameron Wood.
Running back with the flight of the ball, Faulks turned as Wood left the ground to mark and took a knee to the face, leaving the ground on a stretcher after being assessed for more than six minutes.
The 23-year-old was taken to hospital, leaving Fremantle with two players on the interchange bench after Ibbotson had been subbed out of the game in the second term with a shoulder injury.
Fremantle was proactive early, playing as well as could be expected given its horrific injury list. Still, Collingwood appeared to be in cruise control and booted six goals to two by quarter time.
The Magpies slotted into another gear in the second quarter, out-numbering Fremantle at every contest, running and spreading in waves and kicking six unanswered goals for the term.
The visitors’ dominance was best captured in a goal kicked by first-year midfielder Alex Fasolo, who was on the end of a rapid transition and nailed a running shot from 50 metres.
When Pendlebury converted his set shot late in the quarter to give his side a 62-pont lead, Fremantle was staring at its biggest half-time deficit at Patersons Stadium and an ugly home loss to round out the season.
Fremantle midfielder Nick Lower fought bravely all night, finishing with a game-high 11 clearances and kicking the goal that broke Collingwood’s unanswered run of 13. Michael Barlow was also a consistent presence in the midfield, with ruckman Aaron Sandilands, who was Fremantle’s captain in the absence of Matthew Pavlich, dominant in the ruck with 37 hit-outs.
Stats that mattered
At three-quarter time Collingwood had doubled Fremantle’s forward entries (48-24), an advantage usually the result of ascendancy at the stoppages. However, on Friday night it was Fremantle that had the edge in hit-outs (51-22) and clearances (47-34). The Magpies feasted on the outside, winning 58 more uncontested possessions for the match and putting Fremantle under unbearable pressure whenever the home side won the ball and forcing turnovers. By the end of the game, the inside 50 count was 60-37.
Fremantle targeted half-back Leon Davis with its hard tag, sending Ryan Crowley to the creative playmaker. Despite the attention, Davis was brilliant, winning 21 possessions (11 contested) before being subbed off late in the third quarter. Crowley had just six possessions up to that point and kicked his two goals in the final term.
The run home
Fremantle now heads to Etihad Stadium next Saturday to finish its season with a tricky clash with the Western Bulldogs in what will be the final games in the career of Bulldog stars Barry Hall and Ben Hudson.
Toyota AFL Dream Team highlight
Nick Lower ($279,400) had a big night with 113 points. Aaron Sandilands ($340,100) had 101 and Nat Fyfe ($352,700) 100.
Quarter by quarter
Fremantle did well in the first 15 minutes after starting with plenty of intensity despite being decimated by injury coming into the game. The home side had managed two goals to Collingwood’s three in that time, but Andrew Krakouer, Travis Cloke and Steele Sidebottom kicked majors before quarter-time to help Collingwood to a 24-point advantage.
Fremantle couldn’t keep its competitive effort going in the second term, managing just two behinds while the Magpies began to turn on a clinic, booting six goals to lead by 62 points by the long break. Fremantle also lost Garrick Ibbotson for the game after he dislocated his shoulder and he was replaced by substitute Clayton Hinkley.
Things looked ominous again in the third term when Dayne Beams goaled inside 30 seconds for Collingwood, and the margin was 89 points by the time the quarter headed into time-on following Magpie goals to Cameron Wood, Scott Pendlebury and Cloke. Fremantle eventually kicked its first goal since the 15-minute mark of the first quarter when Lower converted 26 minutes into the third term. Aaron Sandilands then booted another for Fremantle before Cloke booted his fourth just before three-quarter time.
To Fremantle’s credit, it actually finished the last quarter with four goals to Collingwood’s three, avoiding what looked at times like being a loss of more than 100 points.