Electric Dockers pass AFL test with win over Geelong
Fremantle have produced a scintillating midfield display to claim their biggest scalp of the AFL season, downing Geelong by 29 points in Perth.
Dominant ruckman Sean Darcy and onballers Caleb Serong and Andrew Brayshaw starred as the Dockers opened up the game and held off the reigning premiers to prevail 16.10 (106) to 11.11 (77) at Optus Stadium.
The hosts led by 10 points at three-quarter time before late majors to James Aish and Jye Amiss (three goals) finally put the see-sawing contest to bed.
Fremantle's third straight win lifts them to ninth on the ladder ahead of another huge clash with Melbourne at the MCG next Saturday.
Cats spearhead Tom Hawkins worked hard to finish with three goals, including two against the run of the play in the third term.
Partner-in-crime Jeremy Cameron (0.4) struggled to find his radar and was well-held by Luke Ryan, although the brilliant forward still made an impact with a pinpoint assist to set up Hawkins' first major.
Saturday's clash resembled an arm wrestle in the early going but the hosts piled on four straight goals in the second term, moving the ball at speed and breaking through the well-organised Geelong defence.
Darcy (43 hitouts, one goal) provided silver service to midfield leaders Brayshaw (33 disposals, one goal) and Serong (28 disposals, one goal), who also combined for 19 tackles.
Michael Walters booted three majors in a fitting celebration of Indigenous round, while fleet-footed youngster Michael Frederick provided the Dockers with drive off the wing and slotted two goals of his own.
Coach Justin Longmuir will be delighted with his side's pressure and willingness to take the game on, features that had been missing during a lacklustre start to the season.
But the 45,811-strong crowd endured a nervous wait as Fremantle struggled to put the determined visitors away, squandering late goals after dominant periods in the second and third terms to keep Geelong in with a chance.
Longmuir hailed his side's "tough, relentless" brand of football and calmness under pressure in the final quarter.
"We've been good in those moments for a number of years when we've been challenged and been able to remain on task," he said.
"They've just been able to focus on what's important."
Nat Fyfe, who lined up for his first start since round one after an injury absence and two cameos as the substitute, rotated between Fremantle's midfield and forward line and gathered 17 disposals before being benched in the third period.
Missing influential midfielders Patrick Dangerfield and Mitch Duncan to injury, Geelong were well-served by youngster Tanner Bruhn and utility Mark Blicavs.
Chris Scott's men will host GWS next Saturday as they look to get their premiership defence back on track following consecutive losses.
Scott said the Cats were optimistic of welcoming back Dangerfield for the clash, as well as key defender Sam De Koning and veteran forward Gary Rohan.
"I'm sitting here pretty optimistic about what we can do," he said.
"The last few weeks we've been playing with a different team which leads to some cohesion issues ... as a collective at the moment, it's just proving difficult to play the way we've been accustomed to playing."