Freo home in a thriller
FREMANTLE 3.0 5.3 10.7 14.10 (94)
GOLD COAST 3.1 8.2 10.2 14.3 (87)
Fremantle: Mayne 3, De Boer 3, Neale 2, Crowley, Pavlich, Clarke, Mzungu, Roberton, Hill
Gold Coast: Bennell 3, Swallow 3, Iles, Hunt, Russell, Brennan, Shaw, Caddy, Brown, Day
Fremantle: Mayne, Crowley, De Boer, Pearce, Ibbotson
Gold Coast: Bennell, Prestia, Hunt, Swallow, Warnock, Iles
Fremantle: Hill (corked quad)
Gold Coast: Bock (fractured leg), David Swallow (ankle), Jared Brennan (knee), Trent McKenzie (calf)
Fremantle: Lee Spurr replaced Stephen Hill in the third quarter
Gold Coast: Josh Toy replaced Nathan Bock in the first quarter
Umpires: Nicholls, Kamolins, Mitchell
Official crowd: 11,670 at Metricon Stadium
Fremantle has dodged a huge bullet, hanging on to defeat an injury-depleted Gold Coast by seven points in a thrilling match at Metricon Stadium on Saturday night.
The Suns led by 17 points at half-time, but Freo overcame six lead changes in the final quarter to win 14.10 (94) to 14.3 (87).
It was a dramatic night at Carrara as the home team played most of the match without vice-captain Nathan Bock, who suffered a broken leg in the first quarter.
David Swallow (ankle) and Jared Brennan (knee) were taken to the Suns’ dressing-room at different stages but battled on in pain, while Trent McKenzie (calf) was also hobbled.
Gold Coast eventually ran out of legs but it lost no admirers with a gutsy performance.
With his team trailing by five points deep in the last quarter, Freo captain Matthew Pavlich stood up after a quiet night to snap the goal that would give the visitors the lead for the final time.
Chris Mayne then extended the margin to seven points with his third goal, before Harley Bennell kept it tight to the final seconds with a brilliant running snap.
Tendai Mzungu soccered home the match-sealer with just second remaining.
Fremantle also has an injury concern, with lightning quick winger Stephen Hill suffering a corked thigh in the first quarter that saw him subbed out just after half-time.
Bennell (37 disposals and three goals) was clearly best afield in a silky display that inspired the hosts.
Dion Prestia (32 disposals) and Sam Iles (29) also got plenty of ball but it was not enough for Gold Coast to win its first match at home.
Matt De Boer and Chris Mayne were superb for the victors with three goals each, while Ryan Crowley put a controversial week behind him with a polished 25-touch display.
Bock was stretchered off after spoiling a marking contest against De Boer in the opening term.
As both flew for the grab, Bock’s right leg collided with de Boer and appeared to shatter on impact.
It meant the Suns were without captain Gary Ablett (knee), Bock and deputy vice-captain Michael Rischitelli (ankle).
Freo kicked the first three goals of the match but the Suns dominated the rest of the half and rounded out their lead with a Karmichael Hunt’s goal after the half-time siren.