Deadlocked at half-time, the West Coast Eagles used a five goal, 11 scoring shots to one third quarter to embarrass cross-town rivals Fremantle in Western derby XXXV. The Dockers produced their lowest ever score at Paterson’s stadium, crushed 11.18.(84)- 5.6.(36).
Matt Rosa starred with 43 possessions and a goal, winning the Ross Glendenning medal for best on ground. Gaff, Priddis and Shuey had a field day on the ball as the Eagles dominated the footy after the half. The win propelled them back to top of the AFL ladder, percentage points above Essendon.
Fremantle were shellacked for the second week in a row and what started to be a promising season is quickly sliding down the drain. They remain 10th on the premiership ladder but based on current form they could slide much further with a ghastly month of footy ahead.
Their glaring weakness was again the midfield. Since losing Nat Fyfe in the first month of the season the Dockers have shown no depth in replacing his class and ability to win hard balls. The other guys, the likes of Barlow and Mundy, have let interrupted pre seasons stop them from having their usual impact.
The first half was a competitive and high intensity affair typical of these Western derbies and Fremantle were arguably better in the first half, scoring the only goal of the first quarter and actually taking a small lead into quarter-time. Ballantyne was the goal kicker, he collected and sprinted to goal and couldn’t be caught.
They followed in up to begin the second as Zac Clarke scored after captain Matthew Pavlich ran the ball up the ground beautifully before the Dockers found their open big man. The Eagles first goal came eight minutes into the second. Priddis found a ruck tap and snapped quickly across his body. Hill kicked another for Fremantle using his trademark speed to break a pack find Chris Mayne, the only man inside 50. The Eagles tied it up with some inaccurate kicking and a goal courtesy of Nic Naitanui.
They awoke after the half and kicked three early goals, putting Fremantle on the backburner and completely out of a low-scoring contest. Schofield’s was the best of the three. He streaked across the wing and smashed a goal from 50, a step inside the boundary line. Hill tried to match with number three him from a similar spot and angle, slotting through a beautiful goal in the process.
The Dockers kicked two goals in the final quarter but West Coast had all the answers, kicking four of their own. Quinten Lynch’s goal 20 seconds into the quarter all but sealed Freo’s fate.
West Coast travel to Brisbane to take on the Lions next Sunday while the Dockers face Adelaide at home.