Hill leads way on Dockers big day
Fremantle speedster Stephen Hill powers away from Western Bulldogs captain Ryan Griffen. Pic: Getty Images

Fremantle coach Ross Lyon paid tribute to his Aboriginal stars after Stephen Hill's best-on-ground performance led the Dockers to a 38-point win over the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium yesterday.

Hill celebrated the AFL's Indigenous Round with 24 possessions and four goals through the midfield, his dash and precision by foot tormenting the Bulldogs.

The win leaves Fremantle seventh on the ladder, but they are now just one win behind second-placed Hawthorn.

Hill's contribution was complemented by Michael Johnson standing tall in defence and Danyle Pearce having a significant influence in the final term.

Lyon said it illustrated what the round meant to the trio.

"They had the opportunity to express themselves and it was no coincidence at three-quarter time it was Stephen Hill, it was Michael Johnson and it was Danyle Pearce that really got us going," Lyon said.

"We acknowledged that after the game. Sometimes there is a greater purpose than the team or the club or your own family.

"They represented their people today and I thought it was absolutely super."

Fremantle's victory came despite the Bulldogs having 67 inside 50s and more clearances.

Hayden Ballantyne kicked three goals, but faces a nervous wait as the match review panel assesses an incident with Shaun Higgins in the second quarter.

Higgins received a free kick after Ballantyne tripped him by hand while trying to chase him down in the centre square.

Ballantyne was suspended for two incidents in round five against Sydney and has 87.5 carryover points.

The minimum charge for a trip attracts 80 points, meaning he would be offered a suspension for Sunday's game against Adelaide if the MRP decides it warrants a report.

Lyon was confident it would be judged accidental and questioned whether a trip by hand was still a reportable offence.

"I did see that. I don't think it's a reportable offence any more," Lyon said. "I thought it was a little slip - fatigue. It is what it is."

Nat Fyfe was on crutches after the game, but the Dockers said it was just a precaution after he hurt an ankle in the first half.

Lyon was thrilled with how the Dockers ran the ball from defence and said the inside-50 tally didn't reflect the pressure Fremantle applied on the hosts.

He questioned why Etihad Stadium's roof was left open when it rained yesterday morning, leaving the players with a hard and slippery surface once the roof was closed for the match.

The Dockers moved to 6-4 with the win, but Lyon said there was room for improvement.

He said it was tough to play the week after a bye.

"It's no excuse, but we are conditioned as humans to routine," Lyon said.

"So, with the intensity of AFL footy, we've seen a few struggle.

"You're better off playing with both of you coming off the bye."

The West Australian

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