Season starts in earnest
OK pre-season footy’s done. Now for the real stuff.
And West Coast will be hoping their real stuff resembles little of what they produced against Fremantle at HBF Arena on Sunday, with the Dockers belting their fierce rivals in a 14.17 (101) to 5.9 (39) JLT Community Series demolition.
Thousands of fans filled the banks of the Joondalup ground, with the official figure standing at about 7700, though it appeared to be much higher than that.
Fremantle coach Ross Lyon would be pleased with the pressure shown by his side and no doubt buoyed at seeing captain Nat Fyfe (26 touches, one goal) in fine touch ahead of their round one AFL clash against Port Adelaide in two weeks time.
It may have only been a preseason game but there was plenty of intent on show.
A bone-shaking hit from Eagles livewire Liam Ryan (13 disposals, one goal) late in the third quarter left Ed Langdon writhing on the turf.
Man mountain Aaron Sandilands (12 disposals, 24 hitouts) was in amongst it early in the piece, coming from the ground under the blood rule with a cut weeping beneath his eye.
Ryan and Sandliands shared a moment later in the game when the giant ruckman’s 122kg frame flattened the 71kg first-year player in a big tackle on the flank.
Lachie Neale was the best player on the ground with 11 disposals in the opening stanza, which grew to 36 touches and three goals by the final siren.
The Eagles’ lacklustre display was perhaps best summed up in the third quarter when star player Luke Shuey dropped a simple mark in space on the wing delivered by Andrew Gaff.
Shuey’s fumble allowed Fremantle’s prized No. 2 draft pick Andrew Brayshaw (19 disposals, nine tackles) to wrap him up and trap him holding the ball.
Fremantle broke the game open in the second term, kicking six goals to West Coast’s one and taking an 8.10 (58) to 3.3 (21) lead into half-time.