Freo starts with a bang
ESSENDON 0.2.1 0.3.2 (20)
FREMANTLE 1.2.5 1.7.5 (56)
Essendon: Hille, Monfries, Dell’Olio
Fremantle: Neale 2, Suban (super goal), Duffield, McPhee, Pearce, Pavlich, Mellington
Essendon: Jetta, Dell’Olio, Hibberd, Carlisle, Monfries
Fremantle: Neale, Ballantyne, Fyfe, Hill, Pavlich, Sandilands
Umpires: Farmer, Dalgleish, McPhee
Crowd: 27,581 at Patersons Stadium
Fremantle has made an impressive start to life under new coach Ross Lyon, dismantling a below-strength Essendon to win its opening NAB Cup match at Patersons Stadium by 36 points on Sunday.
Although it was a pre-season hit-out against weakened opposition, there were positive signs all over the field for Fremantle, who kicked five-goals-to-one in the second half to win 1.7.5 (56) to 0.3.2 (20).
The Bombers had been ambushed by West Coast’s tackling pressure in their opening match, and they confronted an equally brutal Fremantle.
Ross Lyon’s team was wasteful early, however, failing to capitalise on a 15-5 inside-50 advantage and taking a 13-point lead into half-time.
Draftee Lachie Neale, who has been one of Fremantle’s standout performers on the track this summer, was effective in the midfield, suggesting he will have an impact in his first season.
The South Australian teenager was involved in the opening minute setting up a goal for teammate Paul Duffield and kicked two himself.
Hayden Ballantyne was also influential in the midfield, where he is expected to spend more time this season, finishing with a team-high 11 possessions and three inside 50s.
Essendon was already without key players Jobe Watson, Brent Stanton, Dyson Heppell and Michael Hurley, and coach James Hird chose to rest Mark McVeigh, Stewart Crameri and Tayte Pears from the Bombers’ second match.
The visitors have won just one game at Patersons Stadium since beating Fremantle in an elimination final in 2003 and struggled in both of their shortened matches on Sunday, having lost to West Coast by 21 points earlier.
However, coach James Hird would have been encouraged by rookie Corey Dell’Olio, who was lively in the forward line, and Leroy Jetta, who won a game-high 14 possessions playing across half-back.