The momentum of the flag cloak has almost spiraled out of control.
Fremantle has knocked out a prime ministerial candidate for the second consecutive week, beating Brisbane at Optus Stadium thanks to another consecutive third-term blitz.
After struggling to cope with the early heat of the Lions – Brisbane led by a staggering 14 points in the second term – the Dockers conceded six goals to three in the third term and held strong in the fourth quarter to record a 14 win points, 15.9 (99) to 13.7 (85).
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The AFL’s best defense kept the game’s best offense under 100 points for the first time in seven weeks.
QUARTERLY AGREEMENT REPORT
It was a tough arm tussle at the start of the match as Brownlow Medal favourite, Lachie Neale, was manned by Docker Caleb Serong on the opening jump. Ex-Docker Neale had some early divestments and got some taunting from Freo fans, as Will Brodie also spent time with him at a standstill.
After 10 minutes, the Lions were the first to reach the scoreboard, with Dan McStay grabbing the ball from a 50 forward ruck game and breaking a major off his left boot.
“It’s been a real arm struggle. Both teams still feel each other,” Collingwood legend Nathan Buckley told Fox Footy.
The Dockers got a quick reaction when 203cm ruckman Lloyd Meek showed great athleticism and Freo’s first major snapped.
But elite pressure from the Lions forced little defender Keidean Coleman to make another 50 forward stoppage and goal, pushing high to affect the scoreboard.
And when Charlie Cameron added his team’s third major minutes later, the Lions had taken a 13-point lead in the quarter.
Fremantle’s quarter-time score of 1.1 (7) was its lowest first quarter this year and only the second time it had conceded more than two goals in an opening term this season.
But the Dockers recovered quickly and reached the top when Rory Lobb and Griffin Logue scored two quick goals at a trot.
A scuffle then broke out between the two teams, with Luke Ryan’s jersey torn and umpires hard at work breaking the two teams apart.
“It’s gotten a little rough here,” said Fox Footy commentator Anthony Hudson.
Fox Footy frontier rider Matthew Pavlich said: “The crowd is really excited. It’s deafening here.”
As the situation calmed down, the Dockers settled better as James Aish rushed forward and kicked another goal to give the Dockers the lead.
The Lions then got one against the tide, thanks to a big contentious goal and a goal from Eric Hipwood.
“It was a very physical match, not a high scoring match, but still great to watch,” three-time premiership Lion Jonathan Brown told Fox Footy.
Hipwood had a chance to score a second goal in a row late in the quarter, but missed to the right and gave the Lions a one-point lead in the main break.
Brisbane got off to a quick start in the third term, with a big hit-out from Oscar McInerney leading to Cameron’s second goal from zero.
The Dockers looked like they were about to get a quick answer when Travis Colyer fired a long shot at target. But Griffin Logue’s selfless attempt to bounce the ball through for a goal failed, with the footy bouncing on its side and enabling the Brisbane defenders to stamp the ball through for a small score.
“Oh he left the Logue – and he paid the price!” said Hudson.
Brown added: “Always take the mark. Don’t rely on chance there, because the ball may come back. Don’t be selfless in that moment. I can understand his way of thinking, but that’s not the time to be selfish.”
The two teams went goal after goal. Caleb Serong kicked a goal before Zac Bailey reacted, after which Michael Frederick marked strongly to keep Brisbane’s lead at one point.
But after Daniel Rich conceded a free kick, Bailey Banfield converted to put the Dockers ahead before scoring a second goal minutes later.
Then the Dockers got rolling as Rory Lobb converted a set-shot goal and Banfield scored his third goal.
It was reminiscent of Fremantle’s third quarter performance against Melbourne eight days earlier, with the Dockers claiming another scalp in a third quarter blitz.
“It’s been a scrap,” Brown said.
Hudson said of the Lions, “The problems are piling up… They can’t take a trick.”
Bailey nearly played a lone for the Lions in the third term, scoring 12 disposals and adding a late goal to narrow Freo’s lead to 17 points at the last substitution.
Michael Frederick gave the Dockers the perfect start to the fourth term, scoring a running goal to extend Freo’s lead to 23 points.
But Bailey then kicked his third before Lincoln McCarthy created a forward-50 turnover and scored to make it an 11-point game, with Brisbane back in the lead at stoppage.
Banfield then snapped his fourth before Bailey answered with his fourth major for Brisbane as the game’s volatile nature continued.
The Lions kept pushing late into the game with Cameron, Cal Ah Chee and McStay all reaching the scoreboard. But more often than not, the Dockers’ defenses were strong, with Luke Ryan and Alex Pearce thwarting many offensive attacks in Brisbane.
And when Lobb made a huge set-shot attempt from 55 yards to score his third goal, Fremantle had secured the win.
3. DIFFERENT FLAG CONTENDER OPPONENT, SAME RESULT
Another game, another third-quarter Fremantle blitz against a real AFL Prime Minister.
If for some reason you were still a Dockers doubter ahead of Sunday’s game against Brisbane, you would certainly be converted by the end of the third quarter.
The Dockers announced themselves last week as a true flag fanatic after their epic third quarter against Melbourne in the MCG, scoring eight goals to one.
On Sunday, on their home deck Brisbane in the premiership quarter, the Dockers shot from 6.2 to 3.2 in a flash.
Collingwood legend Nathan Buckley said Fremantle’s third term was “as powerful football as you’ll see”.
“It’s efficient, it’s role-oriented … and they just keep popping up for each other,” Buckley said.
“It was pretty impressive.”
While Fremantle and Brisbane had a similar number within 50s for the run, the Dockers were much more efficient going forward, defending their rear 50s much better.
That’s because the Dockers did much of their damage from standstill, winning the third-quarter clearance tally 14-9, with Andy Brayshaw and Will Brodie each having four, while putting together 19 divestments for the quarter alone. took care.
Fremantle prior to round 12 were ranked 15th in scoring stoppages. But they racked up 36 points from a standstill in the third term alone — the most interruption scores ever in a quarter by the Dockers.
Even more remarkable was the fact that the Dockers produced their club record against Brisbane, which is one of the top scoring teams in the AFL.
“It’s been a scrap,” Brown said.
“They have dismantled one of the best injury teams in the league.”
Brayshaw showed tremendous leadership as he set the tone for his side at the colliery.
“The cleanup work, especially from Andy Brayshaw, has been incredible to see how hard he works and how active he is around the hiatus,” Dockers legend Matthew Pavlich told Fox Footy.
“They really came back on top of that, in and around the ball.”
Buckley added: “He just does the simple things right. His work pace is through the roof.”
2. UNKNOWN FREO NAMES DO MAXIMUM DAMAGE
No Nat Fyfe, no Michael Walters, no Sam Switkowski, no Matt Taberner and no goals for Lachie Schultz.
That phrase would normally frighten the hearts of Fremantle fans, because finding the targets seemed like an impossibility.
But enter two unlikely cult heroes who have just played the games of their lives.
At the center of Fremantle’s blitz in the third quarter was Bailey Banfield, who scored three goals from four punts in the third quarter before adding another in the final period as he brought Dockers fans to their feet.
It marked the off-contract Banfield, a role-player who started his career as a tagger and struggled for years to cement his spot in Fremantle’s best 22, finished with a career-high four goals in his 50th game.
While Banfield did the damage in the third term, Michael Frederick was the most influential Dockers scorer in the fourth quarter, scoring two goals from eight disposals and five within the 1950s.
“They’re not household names…these are guys playing really important roles and winning matches for a top four,” Buckley said.
But a familiar face lit it up within 50 for the Dockers, with Rory Lobb producing a telltale play.
Lobb finished 3.1 – including the fourth-term match sealer from 55m – from nine disposals and six points (five within 50, three contested).
Buckley said it was “an equally impressive performance that I’ve seen from him (Lobb) for a while”.
1. LIONS’ EPIC EARLY PRESS
The fact that Fremantle was able to produce such a dominant third term was made even more remarkable considering how impressive Brisbane were in the first half.
Although the midfield numbers were even over the first term, Brisbane brought in plenty of heat and intensity, with more tackles than the Dockers – especially on the ground with eight forward-50 tackles – and it created 10 forward-half turnovers for the quarter.
Lions legend Jonathan Brown said club skipper Dayne Zorko set the tone.
“The big focus when you go on a big interstate trip is early pressure and taking the audience out of the game,” Brown told Fox Footy.
“I thought Dayne Zorko was great… he established the attitude of the team and I thought his teammates followed after that.
“They wanted to tackle and dump, they wanted to make a statement.”
Buckley added: “They came forward … Freo was unable to put two or three handballs together to find time and space for a ball user.”
In the end, the Dockers turned the tables in Brisbane and applied just as much heat to the ball carrier – and the Lions never really recovered from that.
Brisbane could have finished in first place on the ladder after the Demons suffered their second consecutive loss at the hands of the Sydney Swans.
Instead, struggling with two defeats in three weeks to hold on to second place, the Lions will host an in-form St Kilda at the Gabba next week for their farewells.
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