Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Fremantle doing work in NAB Cup...


Fremantle Dockers smash Western Bulldogs by 109 points in NAB Cup

Nat Fyfe
BEST ON: Nat Fyfe looks to break a tackle during Fremantle's big win in Mandurah. Picture: Paul Kane/Getty Images) Source: Getty Images

IF Fremantle wasn't serious last weekend, it left little doubt about its intentions on Saturday night.

The Dockers signalled their desire at the selection table and followed through as a virtual full-strength outfit toyed with the inexperienced Western Bulldogs on the way to a 109-point rout in the NAB Cup fixture in Mandurah.

Key midfielder Nat Fyfe warmed up for the season with a dominant performance, amassing 30 touches and eight clearances after shrugging off an injury scare late in the third term.

Returning captain Matthew Pavlich promised a sizable bag after slotting two goals in the first quarter but had to be content to finish with three in his first outing of the pre-season.

The new dad looked menacing early but enjoyed regular stints on the bench with his minutes restricted as he blew out his pre-season cobwebs.

Fellow forward Chris Mayne was also on the comeback trail after hurting his ankle in the opening NAB Cup fixture three weeks ago.

Mayne showed he had lost none of his spring power with a couple of high-flying marks as he kicked all three of his goals by the main break.

Few of the outgunned Bulldogs were able to hold their heads high, with former West Coast fringe midfielder Koby Stevens the visitors' best with 23 touches and seven clearances.

Aside from Kepler Bradley in defence, there was little in the way of experimentation from Ross Lyon as he treated the game as a serious dress rehearsal ahead of the Round 1 Western Derby in a fortnight.

Fremantle's first-choice forward line had a valuable hitout after getting together for the first time this summer.

It was a day for them to fill their boots as the Dockers dominated the clearance and inside 50 stats.

For a team that prides itself on defence, an attacking combination boasting Pavlich and Mayne, the nous and smarts of Hayden Ballantyne and Michael Walters and the heart of Matt de Boer isn't one to be sneezed at.

The one obvious hole is a tall target to complement Pavlich.

A bulked-up Zac Clarke still offers more potential than performance but appears set to receive an extended show of faith this season and is likely to play the important dual role of supporting Pavlich up forward and relieving Griffin in the ruck in the derby.

He continues to do his best work in the ruck, when the Dockers most need him to perform in the forward line, although a towering grab late in the match was a highlight.

Fyfe had beaten his tally of 10 touches in last weekend's mauling from Carlton by quarter-time and continued to work hard throughout a quality outing.

The young midfield star was everywhere in gathering his 11 opening term possessions, with his contested marking and clearance work a highlight despite turning the ball over at times.

Pavlich was in the thick of things from the outset but missed two gettable set shots early in the opening term.

He couldn't miss his third opportunity, with the skipper strolling all the way to the goal line unmanned after sneaking onto the ground from the interchange gates.

The Dockers piled on six goals to none in the second quarter to extend their lead to 52 points at half-time.

At the height of the onslaught Freo added five goals in the space of six minutes.

Adam Cooney ended a run of seven consecutive Fremantle majors when he kicked the first goal of the third term.

But the Dockers added another six goals to two to further stretch their advantage, with Walters and de Boer both shining with two each.

Walters added his fourth after a terrific mark in the final quarter as a relentless Fremantle powered home.

The Freo players headed for the changerooms at quarter-time and three-quarter time, with the breaks extended from six to 10 minutes under the AFL's heat policy.

The controversial interchange cap of 80 was also removed and the three substitutes were scrapped, leaving each team with six full interchange players.

FREMANTLE 0.5.2   0.11.3   0.17.6   0.23.8 (146)
0.2.3   0.2.5     0.4.5     0.5.7 (37)

Dockers: Walters 4, Mayne 3, de Boer 3, Pavlich 3, Crozier 2, Ballantyne 2, Suban, Griffin, Duffield, Neale, Hill, Mzungu.
Bulldogs: Dixon, Dahlhaus, Austin, Cooney, Cordy.
Dockers: Fyfe, Walters, Mayne, Mundy, de Boer, Clarke.
Bulldogs: Stevens, Lower, Smith.
L Farmer, D Margetts, M Leppard.
About 5000 at Rushton Park, Mandurah

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