Dockers seal top-four spot for finals
Dockers seal top-four spot for finals

Fremantle have locked up fourth spot and the crucial double chance, winning a seesawing clash with Port Adelaide by eight points at Patersons Stadium today.

The Dockers survived a last-quarter surge from the hard-running Power to take the 16.9 (105) to 14.13 (97) win and seal their position inside the top four.

Fremantle looked to have the game locked away when Hayden Ballantyne booted his fourth goal to put them 38 points in front 12 minutes into the final term.

But the Power refused to go away, booting five unanswered goals, including three to spearhead Jay Schulz (six goals) to almost steal the game back.

Key midfielder Michael Barlow lined up as named and had 27 possession and six clearances, despite missing just one week with a broken thumb.

Lachie Neale was prominent with 34 disposal, while Michael Walters chipped in with three goals.
Defender Alex Silvagni was a late withdrawal, with Garrick Ibbotson coming into the team.

Robbie Gray continued his brilliant year with 33 possessions and two goals from five scoring shots, while Hamish Hartlett helped himself to 24 touches and two goals.

Kane Cornes shut Stephen Hill out of the contest for much of the game.

A huge downpour overnight meant the track was damp, but the rain stayed away for the opening of the game as Port started the better of the two teams, despite Matthew Pavlich snapping the first behind.

The Power were winning the contested and locking it up forward but could not make the most of their opportunities early with Jake Neade, Robbie Gray and Andrew Moore all missing shots before Pavlich got it to Taberner over the back and the Rising Star nominee went back and booted the first major.

Matt White and Justin Westoff both made the most of free kicks in front of goals to put the visitors in front.

Pavlich and Taberner then stepped up again to steal back the lead before a goal to Jay Schulz with just over a minute to go made it all square at the first break.

It was the Dockers who started the better in the second term as Pavlich turned back the clock and went into the centre square.

A huge fly from Chris Mayne allowed Walters to bag the crumbs and his first of the match, before a strong Pavlich mark right in front gave them a two-goal buffer.

But the ever dangerous Chad Wingard started to get involved from there and helped turn the tide back to the Power with three consecutive goals.

Fremantle hit back with consecutive majors to take back the ascendancy before Wingard bobbed up with a brilliant snap from the pocket to silence the crowd with under a minute to go.

Taberner had a chance to give the home side back the lead with a kick after the siren but missed as the teams went to the long break with just one point separating them.

The Power looked like they were taking the game away from the Dockers early in the third quarter with a shocking kick from Lee Spurr allowing Schulz to run 70 metres and slot a goal, and Hamish Hartlett getting free at a forward stoppage
minutes later to snap another and make it a two-goal buffer.

But Hayden Ballantyne, who had been kept quiet by Power youngster Jarman Impey then got involved, having consecutive shots and converting the second to get the crowd up on their feet.

That seemed to spark the home side, who piled on the next five goals unanswered to take a decisive 22 point lead into the final change.

Nick Suban took the red vest with just minutes remaining in the third with Hayden Crozier coming on and just missing a quick snap.

Matt White was substituted out for the power at three-quarter-time, bringing Angus Monfries into the game.
Port needed to make the early running but it was the Dockers who booted the first three goals of the term - two of them from a similar position from Ballantyne - to snuff out the Power resistance.

But dead eye Schulz then bobbed up to kick two quick goals from set shots and give the visitors hope again.
And then when Gray kicked consecutive goals to reduce the margin to just 14 points, the crowd of 38,209 started to get really worried.

Schulz converted again to make it nine points with just 30 seconds remaining but it was too little, too late for the Power.

PORT ADELAIDE3.37.69.1014.1397
GOALS – FREMANTLE: Ballantyne 4; Walters 3; Mayne, Taberner, Pavlich 2; Mzungu, Sutcliffe, Mundy. PORT ADELAIDE: Shulz 6; Gray, Hartlett, Wingard 2; White, Westhoff.

BEST – FREMANTLE: Neale, Barlow, Ibbotson, Mundy, Ballantyne, Mayne. PORT ADELAIDE: Gray, Cornes, Shulz, Ebert, Hartlett, Wines.
UMPIRES: D Margetts, M Nicholls, S Meredith
CROWD: 38,209 at Patersons Stadium

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