Fremantle scraps past Lions
FREMANTLE 1.4 4.7 6.13 8.16 (64)
BRISBANE LIONS 2.1 3.2 5.3 5.5 (35)
Fremantle: Pearce 3, Duffield, Pavlich, Mundy, Clarke, Mellington.
Brisbane Lions: Polec 2, Banfield, Rich, Merrett.
Fremantle: Barlow, Sandilands, Ibbotson, Mzungu, Duffield, Pearce, Johnson.
Brisbane Lions: Redden, Adcock, Patfull, Maguire, Drummond.
Fremantle: Fyfe (shoulder), Mellington (hamstring)
Brisbane Lions: Leuenberger (achilles/calf)
Fremantle’s David Mundy replaced Nathan Fyfe in the second quarter
Brisbane Lion’s Jared Polec replaced Matthew Leuenberger in the second quarter.
Umpires: Dalgleish, Rosebury, Bannister
Official crowd: 33,473 at Patersons Stadium
Fremantle has beaten the Brisbane Lions by 29 points at Patersons Stadium on Saturday afternoon, but the win has been soured by a shoulder injury to young star Nat Fyfe.
In a low-scoring, defensive scrap, Fremantle held the Lions to the lowest inside 50 total ever recorded by Champion Data (20) but was wasteful, eventually notching its second win of the season: 8.16 (64) to 5.5 (35).
Just as key on-baller David Mundy made his return from a serious ankle injury, Fremantle was left to lament more shoulder troubles for Fyfe, who was collected by opponent Matt Maguire in the second quarter and subbed out of the match immediately.
The Lions, who held on to be just 16 points adrift at the last break, didn’t emerge unscathed, with lead ruckman Matthew Leuenberger suffering an Achilles tendon injury in the second quarter.
The drama on field overshadowed Mark Harvey’s return to Perth, with the former Fremantle coach receiving a pre-game standing ovation from sections of the purple army.
Now an assistant coach with the Lions, Harvey’s inside knowledge wasn’t enough to inspire an upset win for the visitors, however, with Fremantle comfortably recording its fourth straight win over the men from Queensland.
Making his debut, teenage ruckman Billy Longer was left to lead the Lions in the ruck after Leuenberger’s injury, and star Fremantle big man Aaron Sandilands capitalised, winning 54 hit-outs.
With clearance specialist Michael Barlow playing a full game and racking up 25 disposals (12 contested), Fremantle dominated the midfield and had 52 inside 50s.
However, the home team was wasteful with its ball use and in front of goal, allowing the Lions to stay in the game until Paul Duffield, who had a team-high 28 disposals, snapped around his body halfway through the final term.
“If you walk away and you win contested ball by plus 20 and you have 52 entries to , you’ve dominated a game,” Fremantle coach Ross Lyon said.
“The missing link was the ability to put a nice finish on it inside forward 50.
“We just wasted opportunities, so our method going in has to get better, clearly … you just can’t bludgeon it through the whole time.”
Fremantle rookie Clancee Pearce continued his strong start to the season, kicking three goals, including a 50m gem on the run in the final quarter, while Tendai Mzungu (25 disposals and seven clearances) was important.
Luke McPharlin played on Lions captain Jonathan Brown, who was playing his first game back from a pre-season facial injury, and he held the star forward to just three disposals (all in the first quarter).
“I thought we were trying to be too perfect in the way we tried to move the footy,” coach Michael Voss said. “We didn’t give our forwards a chance.
“We wanted to control the footy a little bit too much and we took the pace massively off the game.
“That dried up their scoring as well, which was the one good thing, but we could never just activate what we wanted to do in our play.”
The Lions were best-served by midfielders Jack Redden (21 disposals and seven clearances) and Jared Polec (15 and two goals), while Joel Patfull battled manfully against Matthew Pavlich, holding the Freo skipper to one goal.
Fremantle was left a man short in the final term after Josh Mellington suffered a hamstring injury, but still managed to win the inside 50 count for the term 16-3.