The West

Dockers lose away aura
Ross Lyon lets his players know what he thinks of them during Saturday's loss to Port Adelaide. Pic: AFL Media

Fremantle can no longer claim to be an "anywhere, any time team", according to Tendai Mzungu after they lost their third interstate game in a row.

The Dockers were overrun in the final term on Saturday to lose by 18 points to Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval.

It followed a thrashing from Hawthorn at the MCG in round three and a loss to Sydney at the SCG in round five.

Fremantle won in Adelaide, the Gold Coast, Geelong and Melbourne last year, as well as drawing with the Swans in Sydney.

Their achievements on the road played a key role in their grand final appearance, highlighted by the second qualifying final win over Geelong at Simonds Stadium.

But Mzungu said the Dockers had lost their interstate aura.

"It's a worry when you lose in the manner that we have on a few occasions," Mzungu said.

"I thought for three quarters we competed.

"It's been a strength of ours, how we travel, and we've had some really good results on the road.

"We'll need to address why we're not producing results on the road. We're on the record as an anywhere and any time team so we still want to be that.

"At the moment we're not."

The Dockers slumped to 4-4, prompting coach Ross Lyon to describe them as mediocre.

Fremantle have played eight of the top-10 teams in the opening two months and face Geelong at Patersons Stadium on Saturday night.

But Mzungu refused to accept that the difficult draw had played a part in their start to the year.

"We've been tested and the best teams respond," he said.

"At the moment we're not responding as consistently as we want. We certainly don't make excuses for the draw. We've got to play them eventually.

"It's been disappointing that we're up and down. We certainly haven't played our best footy.

"In some ways it's a positive that we've got room to improve."

Complicating the build-up to captain Matthew Pavlich's 300th appearance on Saturday night are personnel issues.

Midfielder Stephen Hill was substituted out of the game against the Power after half-time with a knee injury and defender Paul Duffield will be scrutinised for his late bump which collected Chad Wingard in the head.

Fremantle have had a poor record at the tribunal this year and cannot afford to lose another player to suspension or have carryover points threatening their season.

Luke McPharlin (quad) and Zac Dawson (ankle) missed Saturday's game.

The duo's absence meant Mzungu played as a loose man in defence against the Power.

He performed well, but said it reminded him of why the midfield had to work so hard to put the opposition under pressure.

"It's certainly not easy. When the ball's coming in quick, you rely a lot on the midfielders to put pressure on," Mzungu said.

"It was a different role for me.

"I enjoy being versatile and got a lot of support from Michael Johnson, who really leads that well."

"We certainly haven't played our best footy. In some ways it's a positive that we've got room to improve." "Dockers utility player *Tendai Mzungu *

The West Australian

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