Freo fights past Dees
MELBOURNE 6.4 8.6 12.7 12.11 (83)
FREMANTLE 3.2 6.5 11.6 18.9 (117)
Melbourne: Green 3, Martin 2, Bail 2, Bennell, Blease, Bate, Green, Sylvia
Fremantle: Pavlich 4, Walters 3, Ballantyne 2, Barlow 2, Hill 2, Pearce 2, Mzungu, Bradley, Mayne
Melbourne: Sylvia, T.McDonald, Nicholson, Frawley, Martin, J.MacDonald
Fremantle: Mundy, Walters, Ballantyne, McPharlin, Hill, Mayne, Pavlich
Melbourne: Luke Tapscott (groin) was a late withdrawal, Mark Jamar (leg), Jamie Bennell (Knee)
Fremantle: Antoni Grover was a late withdrawal
Melbourne: Mark Jamar replaced by James Strauss at quarter-time
Fremantle: Greg Broughton replaced by Cameron Sutcliffe in the third quarter
Umpires: Dalgleish, Wenn, Bannister
Official crowd: 13,284 at Etihad Stadium
Fremantle has overcome a brave Melbourne to keep its finals hopes alive with a 34-point victory at Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
Freo did not break the Demons’ spirit until midway through the last quarter when nine unanswered goals secured their 18.9 (117) to 12.11 (83) win.
Freo had not beaten Melbourne in Victoria since round four, 2007, and, more importantly, climbed to eight wins and ninth on the ladder pending the results of the Richmond and St Kilda games this round.
The final margin did not do justice to the fight the Demons showed all day.
After producing their best opening quarter of the season, kicking 40 points, the Demons led by as many as 20 and were not headed until the 12-minute mark of the third quarter when skipper Matthew Pavlich kicked his team’s fourth consecutive goal.
Even then the Demons hit back with the game’s next four goals to again stretch their lead to 20 points.
Fremantle coach Ross Lyon said his team had controlled the game after quarter-time even if that control wasn’t always reflected on the scoreboard.
“I thought after quarter-time … we had full control in a real sense but the inability to score in the second – 15 entries [for] 3.3 – was a bit frustrating [as was] our clearance work early,” Lyon said after the match.
“But once we fixed those things I thought our leaders, in particular Matthew [Pavlich], Luke McPharlin, David Mundy and Matty De Boer, really stood up and got to work.
“In the end I thought the last quarter was a true reflection of probably what happened in the second quarter – we dominated the game really.”
Freo small forward Michael Walters was outstanding in his first game for the season, as was his partner-in-crime Hayden Ballantyne and skipper Matthew Pavlich. In the midfield, David Mundy, Stephen Hill and Michael Barlow were instrumental in Freo’s fight-back win, while Luke McPharlin was a steadying influence in defence all day.
The Demons’ effort was outstanding given a spate of injuries that meant they had to do without ruckman Mark Jamar (calf) after quarter-time and Jamie Bennell (knee) from early in the third term.
Melbourne co-captain Jack Grimes also played with a sore ankle from late in the second quarter.
Demons coach Mark Neeld said Melbourne had been let down by its last quarter when it scored 0.4 to Freo’s 7.3.
“We felt that we did a lot right for probably three quarters [but] to win a game of AFL footy you have to get everything right for four quarters and we just could not do that,” Neeld said.
“That is disappointing and frustrating and we are aware of that but that is [a] good education for everyone involved – you have got to see out every contest and that is how you win.”
Colin Sylvia was a driving force for the Demons for most of the match, while Stefan Martin rucked tirelessly against Freo duo Jonathon Griffin and Kepler Bradley.
Nathan Jones and Joel Macdonald were also prolific ball-winners, with Brad Green (three goals) and Sam Blease (two) dangerous down forward.
Melbourne made a flying start to the match to lead Freo by 20 points at quarter-time.
Fremantle hit back to dominate general play in the second term, but despite having 16 inside 50s to the Demons’ five could only get within 13 points at half-time.