Fremantle continued their march towards September with a huge 74-point win over Port Adelaide at Patersons Stadium tonight.
The Dockers were ruthless in dismantling Port’s game, stopping their run and cutting off the supply to their usually dangerous forward line.
Once the opposition was stifled, the Dockers went on a scoring spree to give the fans something to cheer about on members appreciation night, running out 21.8 (134) to 9.6 (60) winners.
The victory takes Fremantle to third on the ladder going into the final round of the regular season.
There was one piece of bad news however, with Nick Suban substituted off early with a minor hamstring strain.
The Dockers were all over Port early, tackling with the intensity which has seen them dismantle countless sides already this year.
Nat Fyfe and Lachie Neale were doing plenty of grunt work around the stoppages and with Michael Walters and Hayden Ballantyne on fire in the forward line, the visitors were struggling to get the ball in their hands.
The pressure on Port’s ball use was so immense, an easy handball back to a loose man from defender Tom Jonas was pounced on by Ballantyne and quickly turned into Walters’ second goal.
Ryan Crowley went to Port captain Travis Boak as expected, matching him possession for possession in the early stages and drifting forward to add the Dockers’ fifth goal in a prolific opening term.
The only highlight of a dismal first quarter from Port was their lone goal, a clever dribble from Jake Neade deep in the right forward pocket.
Fremantle’s second quarters have proved troubling over the past month, but against Port, they showed that it shouldn’t be a problem going into finals.
The Dockers held Port goalless in the second term, keeping the pressure up and kicking five straight goals from their five opportunities.
While one of those goals – a dribble kick from Ballantyne – may have been questionable, there was no doubt about Matthew Pavlich’s bomb from beyond 50, hopefully a sign of things to come from the skipper in September.
By half-time the Dockers had established a 55-point lead.
Chad WIngard gave his team some spark with the first goal of the third quarter, but was substituted out of the game soon after in a sign that coach Ken Hinkley had already given up on the result.
Ballantyne answered the WIngard goal with his fourth major for the night, kick-starting a run of three goals with substitute Tom Sheridan and Walters.
Jay Schulz provided another highlight for Port with a diving mark and snap goal from the boundary, but with Fremantle ruckmen Zac Clarke and Jack Hannath both hitting the scoreboard, the Port highlights counted for little.
At three-quarter time the margin was 69 points, with the fourth quarter only providing more pain for the visiting side.
Lyon claimed an injury scare for Ballantyne was more related to his ribs rather than his shoulder.
"He probably had a scare last week. It turned out to be not much," Lyon said.
"Look, he's really important for us. He's crumbing really well and pressuring and taking his opportunities."
Power coach Ken Hinkley admitted his team would need to handle pressure better if they are to succeed in the finals.
"I think we were taught a lesson about real pressure football," Hinkley said.
"The Dockers have been the absolute best in the competition all year over here."SCOREBOARD
|GOALS – FREMANTLE: Pavlich, Ballantyne 4; Walters 3; Clarke, Sheridan 2; Crowley, Barlow, Hannath, Johnson, Neale, Sutcliffe.|
PORT ADELAIDE: Neade, Wingard, Young, Ebert, Monfries, Mitchell, Schulz, Gray, Moore.
BEST – FREMANTLE: Neale, Fyfe, Ballantyne, Mundy, Crowley, Barlow, Clarke.
PORT ADELAIDE: Gray, Moore, Wingard, Westhoff, Cornes, Lobbe.
INJURIES - FREMANTLE: Suban (hamstring).
UMPIRES: D Margetts, J Dalgleish, S McInerney.
CROWD: 35,565 at Patersons Stadium.