Hard Hawks hurt Dockers
Hard Hawks hurt Dockers

Three key Dockers have been badly hurt as Fremantle were left counting the considerable cost of a humiliating 58-point defeat in tonight’s grand final rematch at the MCG.

Garrick Ibbotson came from the field cradling his right shoulder with three minutes remaining in a horror first term for the visitors in which Hawthorn booted six goals to one to stun an insipid Fremantle.

The fallout got worse, with Chris Mayne and Michael Walters both hurting ankles in a 21.11 (137) to 11.13 (79) loss that has put Fremantle’s ability to perform on the game’s greatest stage under the microscope.

"We're licking our wounds at the moment and all credit to the opposition," Fremantle coach Ross Lyon said.

"Hawthorn really won the ball incredibly well, they spread, we couldn't find them - the whole kit and caboodle, really."

The Dockers have won just three of their past 10 matches at the MCG, with tonight’s result coming in front of a poor crowd of 43,583.

Mayne landed badly on his left ankle in a pack marking situation in the second term and had to be carried to the bench by trainers, while Walters hobbled from the ground midway through the third quarter.

Both players returned to the field, but failed to run out the contest to be in serious doubt for Fremantle’s next game against an in-form Essendon at Patersons Stadium tomorrow week.

The nightmare could have further implications for Fremantle, with young tall Jack Hannath likely to face scrutiny from the AFL match review panel for a clumsy spoil on Matthew Spangher.

Hannath came in late and collected the Hawks defender across the head with his forearm eight minutes into the match in an incident that could land the forward in trouble.

Hawthorn’s performance delivered a chilling statement for their premiership rivals, with the only downside a suspected collarbone injury suffered by David Hale in the ruckman’s 200th match.

The premiers will only get stronger in terms of personnel, with Luke Hodge, Brian Lake, Ben McEvoy and Ben Stratton all still to return.

Ibbotson’s injury was a cruel blow for the defender, who was playing his first game since last year’s bout of Achilles surgery that ruled him out of the club’s finals series.

The 26-year-old was hurt in an innocuous contest inside Fremantle’s defensive 50m arc and came from the ground with his right shoulder visibly hanging from the socket.

The injury will almost certainly mean an extended spell on the sidelines.

Such was Hawthorn’s dominance that Fremantle took until almost the 22nd minute of the first term to register their first score – a running shot on goal from David Mundy that slammed into the woodwork from just 25m out.

Fremantle entered the contest without four of their players from last year’s grand final defeat, but it was the absence of Nat Fyfe (suspension) and Michael Barlow (knee) from the club’s engine room that particularly hurt.

The Hawks won nine more clearances in charging to a 57-point lead at half time, with the lead coming on the back of a staggering 261-128 dominance in possession.

Hayden Ballantyne revisited last year’s grand final shocker with a poor first half, while Fremantle were again wasteful in front of goal.

Michael Walters and David Mundy also had no impact, with four goals from Matthew Pavlich the only positive for Fremantle.

Hawthorn conversely had winners everywhere.

Cyril Rioli took an early contender for mark of the year, Luke Bruest, Isaac Smith and Paul Puopolo each kicked three goals, and Ryan Crowley went to but failed to contain Sam Mitchell.

The embarrassment for Fremantle came after the club’s odd use of Alex Silvagni during the build-up.

The defender was named in a back pocket on Thursday just hours after being spotted with teammates in Fremantle only to be then withdrawn 90 minutes before bouncedown.

Hawthorn also made a late change with McEvoy withdrawing with a calf injury.

His loss exposed third-gamer Jonathon Ceglar in the ruck, but Fremantle failed to exploit the perceived weakness.

Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson admitted to surprise that his team had dominated so comprehensively in the first half.

He noted that the Dockers had only conceded five goals per game in the opening two rounds.

"We couldn't have possibly have envisaged that it was going to be that good a start for our side," he said.

"To have six goals in the first 20 minutes was really important.

"Our effort tonight and our workrate - we had 22 real goers tonight."

The West Australian

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