20/04/2024
Andrew Brayshaw.

Andrew Brayshaw. Credit: By MelbourneFan2022 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=119190024

It wasn’t the most encapsulating game, filled with skill errors, but Fremantle found a way when the contest was up for grabs, booting four final quarter goals to record a 35-point win over Adelaide to start 3-0 for the first time since 2015.

The dangerous Hayden Young (32 disposals, seven tackles, eight clearances, 661 metres gained) was super impactful, while Caleb Serong (28 disposals, 567 metres gained) worked himself into the contest after a quiet opening term, and the dependable Luke Ryan (27 touches, 10 marks, 742 metes gained) was solid as a rock.

For Adelaide inside midfielder Matt Crouch (28 disposals, five tackles, seven clearances) battled hard in the coalface, Jordan Dawson (27 touches, 402 metres) was highly effective early with his tandem clearance work with Crouch influential in the opening term, and former Collingwood backman Mark Keane had a career-best game finishing with 26 disposals and 11 marks.

Adelaide would get the scoring underway with defensive tagger Ben Keays finding space by himself after Josh Rachele’s excellent vision.

Fremantle early looked to control tempo by transferring the play before finding the right option Inside 50s.

Both sides couldn’t generate straightforward majors, with errant disposal and fundamental skill errors hindering their attacks leading to numerous breakdowns and lost opportunities.

Adelaide were the more dangerous entering their attacking half using handballs to break the play open, while Crows captain Jordan Dawson and Matt Crouch controlled proceedings in the stoppages.

Eventually Adelaide would get reward for their persistence, with small forward Ned McHenry converting sublimely nailing a difficult set shot from the right forward pocket.

It was one of a few standout highlights as ongoing clangers by hand and foot kept plaguing the teams from making further inroads on the scoreboard.

Veteran goalsneak Michael Walters was the only standout in front of the posts in a sloppy opening half.

Typifying an ugly opening term came in the final minute with a sloppy Dockers disposal before Adelaide butchered theirs, with the quarter ending with niggle.

The errors didn’t dissipate in the second as the lacklustre football simple basics put halt to any exciting football, leaving the mostly Dockers crowd restless.

Adelaide would earn reward for their use entering forward half, in one of very few patient setups with Izak Rankine pass finding former Gold Coast Sun Chris Burgess, who went back, flushing a monstrous 50 plus metre bomb.

Finding open space became a struggle, mainly because of the skill errors.

Walters, the most dangerous forward on the field nailed his second goal on his sixth attempt.

For the final 15 minutes of the term, Fremantle began dominating in forward territory, but couldn’t create an advantage on the scoreboard.

It was the sides lowest scoring opening half since round 5, 2021.

Rinse and repeat in the third.

Caleb Serong, usually known for his clean disposal found himself caught in two minds streaming forward having a short option, and a long option, going the latter only to miss his target before the ball sailed out of bounds.

Adelaide were all but certain to inject some spark to a dour game pouncing on Brandon Walker’s howler kick.

However, Burgess, who nailed the hard goal early in the second term, couldn’t convert his snap from the pocket.

Adelaide’s errant passing came back to bite them when Wayne Milera’s kickout fell straight into Jye Amiss’ lap, with the third-year forward punishing his clanger.

Crows livewire Josh Rachele thought he had an immediate reply, getting to the loose ball and soccering truly, only for Jordan Clark’s right elbow to deny him.

Wayne Milera, who’s endured numerous injuries, will nervously await if he’s avoided another knee injury landing awkwardly on his right knee attempting to spoil a Dockers forward foray. He was on the ground for a minute before getting to his feet, receiving applause from the crowd.

The skill errors didn’t dissipate to start the fourth, until the eight minute mark when Michael Frederick shrugged off a Crows tackler finding the reliable Bailey Banfield, who sent the Dockers crowd into an almighty roar, with a classy left snap.

His ignition brought about a Dockers burst as seen in the first two games against Brisbane and North Melbourne, slamming on the next three goals to effectively end the contest.

Fremantle travels to South Australia for the second year of Gather Round to take on Carlton, whilst Adelaide opens round four against Melbourne.

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