Lyon s pride! Dockers win thriller in coach s first game
Dockers captain Matthew Pavlich squares up to Cats' Matthew Scarlett after he punched Hayden Ballantyne (grounded, above right) Pic: Getty Images

Fremantle pulled off a dramatic four-point victory over premiers Geelong at Patersons Stadium tonight to get Ross Lyon's tenure as coach off to the best possible start.

The Dockers delivered an onslaught early in Lyon's first AFL game in charge, piling on five unanswered goals to rocket to a 30-point lead inside 14 minutes.

And while, inevitably, the Cats discovered their mojo in a seesawing match, two final quarter goals from Matthew Pavlich got them over the line, with the hosts winning 16.9 (105) to 15.11 (101) in a high-quality match.

Tempers boiled over throughout a heated game, with several altercations between Hayden Ballantyne and Steve Johnson believed to have landed the Dockers antagonist in the book.

And upgraded rookie Clancee Pearce's collision with Johnson 15 minutes into the second quarter which left the Geelong forward heavily winded could also come in for scrutiny.

Fremantle were left to rue letting slip that early lead built on the back of Aaron Sandilands' dominance in the ruck and Nat Fyfe's continued emergence as a midfield star.

Ballantyne had a first half to forget, but transformed from villain into hero 10 minutes into the third term.

A fired-up Matthew Scarlett took a swing at the small forward immediately after conceding a goal to Fremantle, with the hit leaving the three-times premiership defender on report and ending with a Ballantyne goal.

It stretched the hosts lead to two goals and threatened to turn the match back in the Dockers favour.

They led by a single point at the final break before several heroes emerged in the final stanza.

Defender Zac Dawson charged 60m to deliver a crunching knock on Mathew Stokes to win the ball.

Ballantyne also lifted to scrubber his second goal and set up another, while Fyfe could do little more to influence the result.

Fyfe finished with 30 possessions to go with an outrageous goal from the left pocket during the second term, finishing with two majors.

Third-gamer Josh Mellington also booted three goals in a performance that will help cement his place in the side.

The biggest applause of the night was saved for crowd favourite Michael Barlow.

The midfielder was substituted into the match 14 minutes into the third quarter and snapped a neat goal with his first kick just two minutes later.

Geelong captain Joel Selwood kept his side in the game at times with a bullocking midfield effort that returned 32 disposals.

Fremantle had earlier blown the premiers away in a first term blitz that reaped the game's first five goals.

Pavlich marked a floater on his chest and converted from outside 50m to get the ball rolling.

Geelong were rattled as Sandilands quickly made his presence felt around the stoppages opposed to mature-aged debutant Orren Stephenson.

Zac Clarke added a further two goals in the space of two minutes, with deft passes from Kepler Bradley setting up both majors.

The Dockers forward line looked lethal as Matt De Boer and Fyfe added another goal apiece to blow the margin out to 30 points.

Last year's grand final hero Tom Hawkins, who finished with four goals, swung the momentum back Geelong's way.

He snapped a brilliant goal from the pocket to finally get the visitors on the board before clunking a contested mark and drilling the ball through the big sticks.

Josh Mellington's superb snap at the 28-minute mark of the quarter was a steadier for Fremantle.

But a brain snap from Adam McPhee, who was run down from behind while trying to elude the pacy Steven Motlop.

It resulted in a goal on the siren that narrowed the margin to 12 points despite the home side's dominance of the quarter.

Geelong cancelled out that lead altogether as the match descended into an arm wrestle.

Their slick ball movement told as the term wore on and when Taylor Hunt marked and goaled on the brink of half time, the Cats held a slender five-point lead.

The second half would be a seesawing, dramatic contest with the victor ever in doubt until the final siren.

De Boer (elbow) and Nic Suban (ankle) were Fremantle's injury concerns, but were able to play out the match.

The West Australian

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