The Fremantle Dockers used a big win in Perth on Saturday to move into the AFL’s top eight with two games remaining in the home and away season while also ending Richmond’s hopes of a finals berth.
13.16.(94)-11.6.(72) was the final score as the Dockers gained control of the game in the final stages of the opening quarter and never let go. Their defensive scheme was particularly impressive and allowed them 12 more scoring shots than their opposition and control over the ball for much of the match.
David Mundy tied Tiger Trent Cotchin for a game-high 32 disposals. Michael Barlow, Paul Duffield and Hayden Ballantyne were each impressive over their respective areas of the ground.
Ballantyne and captain Matthew Pavlich, now four goals ahead of Richmond’s Jack Riewoldt atop the Coleman Medal tally, each kicked three goals while Matt De Boer added two.
Fremantle surprised by withdrawing ruckman Jonathon Griffin early and replacing him with underdone superstar Aaron Sandilands. He played a crucial role in the ruck; Sandilands dominated Ivan Maric; and collected 18 disposals.
Richmond were the better side for much of the first quarter. They played a short chipping game, but it didn’t lead anyway in particular and for all the control over the ball they never could really break away from the home team. Across the final five minutes of the term Fremantle found their game and kicked two goals courtesy of De Boer and Stephen Hill, Hill’s came of a beautiful interception 25 meters from goal, enabling them to take a seven-point quarter time lead.
Fremantle opened the second with goals to Mzungu and Ballantyne before Jake King kicked Richmond’s first in over 20 minutes of game time. Deledio added another and Richmond was within nine, but the Dockers were able to bring it back and increase their lead to 16 at the major change.
Mayne scored a cheeky goal early in the third, running over his mark while the defender momentarily lost concentration, but despite the Tigers matching Fremantle’s three goals for the quarter the lead was at 20 with just one quarter to play.
Ballantyne drew first blood with a crucial opening goal to start the fourth and although White had an instant response for Richmond, Pavlich was able to kick the third in three minutes. Bradley added a another, ending the game for good.
Young Tiger Ben Griffiths was stretchered off the ground when he smashed his head into the ground after falling from a marking contest.