The West

Dockers return to top four
Michael Barlow celebrates with Danyle Pearce. Picture: Ian Munro / The West Australian.

Fremantle have returned to the top four for the first time since round two after a comprehensive 83-point demolition of Brisbane in the wet Patersons Stadium tonight.

Helped by a five-goal haul to Hayden Ballantyne, the Dockers were never seriously troubled by the Lions, who simply couldn’t out-bustle the home side’s big-bodied midfield in the slippery conditions.

The visitors scored only one behind in the first half for the first time since the merger of Fitzroy and the Brisbane Bears.

Their inside-50 count of 17 was the lowest since Champion Data started recording statistics in 1996.

The Lions managed to get on the board in the second half but couldn’t lock down a rampaging Dockers side on their way to a 15.15 (105) to 3.4 (22) win.

The Lions' 22 points was the lowest score conceded by the Dockers in their 20-year history.

Fremantle won the inside 50s 72-17, the contested ball 177-132 and the clearances 50-33 in a brilliant display of wet weather football.

Hayden Ballantyne handballs under pressure. Picture: Ian Munro / The West Australian.

Ballantyne’s game takes his goal tally to 11 in the past two weeks, while Nat Fyfe (29 disposals, 10 clearances), Lachie Neale (33 disposals), David Mundy (26 disposals) and Michael Barlow (26 disposals, two goals) were also instrumental in the win.

Tom Rockliff’s 44 disposals, 10 tackles and 12 clearances made him Brisbane’s only clear winner on the night.

The rain had poured down in Perth all day and made for a scrappy opening to the match, which suited Barlow perfectly.

The Dockers midfielder combined with Fyfe to dominate the centre bounces and finished the quarter having kicked the only two goals of the game.

Nat Fyfe fights for the ball. Picture: Ian Munro / The West Australian.

The home side’s control of the football was always going to translate into more goals eventually and the second term saw them kick seven unanswered majors, with Ballantyne and Matthew Pavlich the main beneficiaries.

However Brisbane had every right to feel aggrieved after three howler deliberate out of bounds calls against them translated into two Dockers goals.

Josh Green kicked Brisbane’s first goal of the game five minutes in to the second half after swooping on a Zac Dawson mistake and Rohan Bewick added their second minutes later.

However the Dockers had let them have their fun and were able to finish the game with five of the last six goals.

Ryan Crowley and Chris Mayne celebrate after the final siren. Picture: Ian Munro / The West Australian.


GOALS - FREMANTLE: Ballantyne 5; Pavlich 3; Barlow, Mayne 2; D Pearce, Suban, Sandilands.

BRISBANE: Green, Bewick, Merrett.
BEST - FREMANTLE: Fyfe, Neale, Ballantyne, Mundy, Barlow, Crowley.
BRISBANE: Rockliff, Patfull, Green, Redden.
INJURIES – FREMANTLE: Pavlich (nose).
UMPIRES: L Farmer, T Burgess, J Armstrong.
CROWD: 25, 152 at Patersons Stadium.

The West Australian

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