UPDATE 12.20pm: Stephen Hill and Michael Walters have been cleared of injury during today’s practice match against Adelaide despite leaving the field in discomfort during the third term
The Dockers performed well throughout the day but were over run because of the imbalance in numbers during the second half and the 35 point half-time lead became a five point loss.
Fremantle led until Josh Jenkins put the Crows in front with four minutes to play. Kepler Bradley then missed a set shot with 10 seconds left which would have tied the scores.
With Matt de Boer withdrawing from the squad early in the day because of a corked thigh, Fremantle took 25 players into the contest compared to Adelaide’s 30. Nat Fyfe then sat out the first quarter while the Crows brought on six fresh players in the second half.
Walters left the field after being tackled awkwardly just six minutes into the third term and he didn’t come back on. Then Hill clutched for his left shoulder following a clash with Lewis Johnston.
He immediately left the ground and went straight to the rooms. But coach Ross Lyon said the players were removed from the game as a precaution.
“(Walters) just had a niggle in the ankle and then got a cork on his calf so we just tapped him out,” Lyon explained.
“It was the same as Hill. He had a bit of a numb arm for a minute, was a bit vulnerable and he’s pretty important to us so we tapped him out.”
The Dockers dominated the first half thanks mainly to Walters. He had six first quarter possessions, kicked 1.1, had three goal assists and was involved in another scoring chain after moving into the middle.
Fyfe then upped the ante in the second term with10 possessions, four clearances and one goal to give the team a commanding lead at the long break.
The Dockers ran hard and the team had nine individual goalkickers at half-time.
But Adelaide’s fresh legs were telling from the start of the second half.
Patrick Dangerfield came on and was influential, Tom Lynch and Ian Callinan had an immediate impact in attack and Ricky Henderson was lively.
Down on rotations, and already fatigued in the 34 degree conditions, Fremantle couldn’t maintain their first half dominance.
“We had a number of players cramping but I thought we accepted the challenge in the third (quarter),” Lyon said.
“I’d take three out of the four quarters. How much was the difference? It’s hard but we know Dangerfield (is damaging) and Callinan came on and had four in about five minutes and kicked a goal.
“All of their fresh forwards started to get off out defenders a bit. We walk away satisfied.
“I thought Crozier for us really stood up. Zac Clarke was pretty impressive, Jesse Crichton continues to grow and I thought our seasoned midfielders in their first hit out, at times they were pretty impressive – Mundy and Fyfe and Barlow.”
ADELAIDE 1.3 4.4 9.10 13.11 (89)
FREMANTLE 6.2 10.3 11.4 13.6 (84)
GOALS – ADELAIDE: B Martin 3, T McIntyre, L Johnston, J Jenkins 2, C McKernan, I Callinan, T Lynch, R Henderson. FREMANTLE: H Crozier, T Mzungu 2; N Fyfe, D Mundy, L Neale, T Sheridan, L Spurr, N Suban, M Walters, Z Clarke, C Pearce.
BEST – ADELAIDE: M Wright, R Sloane, P Dangerfield, B Crouch, B Martin, S McKernan. FREMANTLE: N Fyfe, M Barlow, T Mzungu, M Walters, G Ibbotson, P Duffield, Z Clarke.