Fremantle downed by Eagles
FREMANTLE 0.0.1 0.1.4 (10)
WEST COAST 0.1.5 0.4.6 (30)
West Coast: Cox 2, Weedon, Shuey
Fremantle: Duffield, McPhee, Pitt, Crowley, Broughton
West Coast: Hurn, Cox, Masten, Stevens, Stevenson, Shuey
West Coast: Nil
Umpires: Farmer, Dalgleish, McPhee
Official crowd: 27,581 at Patersons Stadium
Fremantle will enter the second round of the NAB Cup with a 1-1 record after losing to cross-town rivals West Coast by 20 points in a hard-fought third game at Patersons Stadium on Sunday.
After both teams easily overcame Essendon earlier in the round-robin format, the last game of the night saw a much higher intensity but the Eagles showed their class in winning 0.4.6 (30) to 0.1.4 (10).
The Eagles were dominant from the start but their control wasn’t reflected on the scoreboard, with the first goal coming through Gerrick Weedon with 12 seconds remaining in the first half.
John Worsfold’s decision to inject his side with the polish of Dean Cox, Luke Shuey, Andrew Gaff and Shannon Hurn was important, but Fremantle – without stars Matthew Pavlich and Nathan Fyfe – did not relent under fierce pressure from the Eagles.
Last year’s preliminary finalists pumped the ball into their forward fifty 14 times in the opening 20 minutes, and they were finally rewarded in the second half when they broke away. Freo remained competitive, but without its key playmakers it could not manufacture enough opportunities to attack.
Hurn’s contribution was immense – he carried the ball and was typically damaging by foot – while Koby Stevens’ strong pre-season paid dividends with a promising performance.
Tom Swift, after managing just five games last season, also appeared to have developed his game over summer with nine neat disposals.
Looking fresh and fit after an All-Australian season in 2011, Cox finished the contest with consecutive running goals late in the game to extend the Eagles’ lead to 26 points before Josh Mellington booted Fremantle’s only goal of the night with less than a minute remaining.
Fremantle could take little away from the game apart from giving more experience to its raft of youngsters. Jayden Pitt (nine disposals), Lee Spurr and Lachie Neale will all benefit from being exposed to the Eagles’ organised and tough approach, and Ross Lyon would have been impressed with their efforts.
Fremantle’s Matt de Boer was substituted out of the game in the first minute after colliding heavily in mid-air with Eagle Blayne Wilson, while young West Coast forward Jack Darling was left dazed after a similar clash with Zac Dawson in a marking contest. Darling later returned to the field to play out the game.