Freo falters at the finish
Western Bulldogs 2.6 6.8 8.15 15.17 (107)
Fremantle 1.6 4.11 6.13 8.13 (61)
Western Bulldogs: Hall 5, Giansiracusa 2, Jones 2, Veszpremi 2, Griffin 2, Tutt, Dahlhaus
Fremantle: Bradley 2, Mzungu 2, Clarke, Sibosado, Hill, Barlow
Western Bulldogs: Boyd, Cross, Veszpremi, Griffen, Murphy, Ward, Giansiracusa
Fremantle: Johnson, Silvagni, Mzungu, Schammer, Broughton
Western Bulldogs: Nil
Fremantle: McPharlin (hamstring) replaced in side by Sibosado
Western Bulldogs: Jayden Schofield replaced by Shaun Higgins in the third quarter.
Fremantle: Casey Sibosado replaced by Justin Bollenhagen in the third quarter.
Umpires: McBurney, Ritchie, Hay
Official crowd: 18,128 at Etihad Stadium
Fremantle’s season has drawn to a close with a 46-point loss to the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium on Saturday
Bulldog Barry Hall, playing his final AFL match, finished with a flurry kicking four final-quarter goals and five for the match to lead the Bulldogs to a 15.17 (107) to 8.13 (61) win.
Barry Hall and Ben Hudson have farewelled the game on a winning note, with the Western Bulldogs prevailing by 46 points against Fremantle at Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
Hall finished with a flurry, kicking four final-quarter goals and five for the match to lead the Bulldogs to a 15.17 (107) to 8.13 (61) win.
In a scrappy match, the final appearances of Hall, Hudson and Fremantle midfielder Byron Schammer added interest to the final round dead rubber.
Schammer was the best of the three with 23 possessions while Hudson was challenged by Aaron Sandilands until the big Fremantle ruckman hobbled off in the third quarter with a re-occurrence of his toe injury.
All three were honoured afterwards with both teams forming a guard of honour that saw Hall and Hudson chaired off before Schammer at the other end.
Fremantle, which was forced to make five changes to last week’s side owing to injury and suspension, was again struck by bad luck in the hour before the first bounce.
Defender Luke McPharlin injured a hamstring in the warm-up, which saw first-gamer Casey Sibosado come in for his debut.
The result sees both clubs record nine wins and 13 losses for the season, with the Bulldogs building the better percentage. Their final ladder positions will be determined once North Melbourne, Richmond and Melbourne have played.
Sibosado, after getting the latest call up possible, kicked the first goal and had 12 possessions, but impressed the most with his clean hands that held six marks, two of which were on the lead before he was subbed off in the third quarter.
Possession-wise, Michael Johnson (30 touches), Schammer (24) and Tendai Mzungu (20) were Freo’s best, while Alex Silvagni – who manned Hall after the withdrawal of McPharlin – held his own and even celebrated the premiership Swan’s retirement by taking a mark on his shoulders in the fourth term.
What it means
Mark Harvey’s men will limp into the off-season with almost his entire list of fit players making the trip to Melbourne for Saturday’s game. They didn’t win again after beating the Sydney Swans in round 17, and will finish two and a half games out of the eight after being as high as third after round five.
What the coach said
Mark Harvey (Fremantle)
“We were competitive for three quarters. Fundamentally we made too many mistakes. [But I] saw some good signs from some of our players. [There was] probably too few highlights really.
We have had a really good review in AFL games of our list. That’s pleasing, because sometimes we can judge them at WAFL level and it can be a different outlook on the player and not necessary conjunctive to AFL level.”
Toyota AFL Dreamteam highlight
Fremantle: Only one Fremantle player managed three figures, with Michael Johnson finishing the season on a high with 126 points. Playing his last game for Freo, Byron Schammer finished with 98 points.
QUARTER BY QUARTER
Fremantle’s injury toll continued to grow before the opening bounce, with McPharlin injuring his hamstring in the warm-up. It was the late inclusion Sibosado who impressed early, taking a strong contested mark and kicking the first goal. With the roof open and conditions blustery, both sides struggled to attain any ascendancy early with Silvagni doing a good job on the retiring Hall. Veszpremi was busy early, but the Dogs failed to capitalise on the scoreboard. It was a similar case at the other end, with Schammer and Stephen Hill missing key shots on goal as the Dogs held a slender lead at the first break.
Western Bulldogs by six points
Fremantle was on top early after Cross gave away an uncharacteristic 50m penalty for entering the restricted zone, gifting a goal to Zac Clarke. It took until the six-minute mark of the second quarter for the Barry Hall facemasks to make their first appearance, with the retiring Bulldog kicking a sensational banana goal from deep in the forward pocket. Sandilands was causing havoc for the Bulldogs defence, taking strong marks and dishing off to Kepler Bradley for his second goal of the term. The Dogs static ball movement was playing into their opponents’ hands, before goal-machine Jason Tutt dribbled home a beauty from tight on the boundary. The Bulldogs finally found their run, kicking the last four goals of the half as Sandilands missed two easy set shots and inexplicitly played-on from three metres out, resulting in a missed snap from Paul Duffield.
Western Bulldogs by 9 points
After an uninspiring first-half, Freo sprang to life early with a sensational snap from Mzungu after some excellent dash and dare by Michael Barlow from half-back. Both sides decided it was time for fresh legs, introducing their subs midway through the quarter in a bid to shake each other. It was a long bomb from Griffen that finally gave the Bulldogs some breathing space as Mark Harvey’s men began to tire. The Dogs midfielders continued to find plenty of the ball while Easton Wood made a goal-saving smother on Justin Bollenhagen after the youngster had Paul Duffield all alone in the goalsquare to cut the deficit to less than two goals.
Western Bulldogs by 14 points
The first two Bulldogs entries inside 50 were targeted for Hall, as his teammates looked to help the forward add to his tally of just one major for the day. Hall started to let his frustrations out, with a free kick awarded to the Dogs reversed after a bit of argy-bargy and then giving away a 50m penalty after a holding call went in favour of his opponent. Long goals to Veszpremi and Griffen put the victory beyond doubt. But all eyes were fixed on Hall. With numbers continuing to fill Hall’s space, a kick across goal led to Silvagni manhandling Hall who finally kicked his second. The floodgates opened as Hall kicked four last-quarter goals to the delight of the Bulldogs faithful and ensured he and Hudson finished their careers in winning fashion.
Western Bulldogs by 46 points