Brayshaw, Dockers gunning for fast start against Crows

Shayne Hope |

Fremantle’s Andrew Brayshaw wants teammates to adopt a proactive mindset against Adelaide.
Fremantle’s Andrew Brayshaw wants teammates to adopt a proactive mindset against Adelaide.

Fremantle midfielder Andrew Brayshaw has urged teammates to adopt a proactive mindset in a bid to “throw the first punch” in their Good Friday clash with Adelaide.

Slow starts were a huge problem for the Dockers last year – when they trailed at quarter-time in 17 of 23 matches and missed the finals – and the trend has continued this season.

Consecutive wins to open the new campaign have come the hard way, with Justin Longmuir’s side clawing back from significant early deficits of 25 and 33 points against Brisbane and North Melbourne respectively.

Fremantle host Adelaide at Optus Stadium on Friday, with the 0-2 Crows desperate to get off the mark for 2024.

“We have to have a really proactive mindset … in that first quarter we’re going to try to throw the first punch,” Brayshaw told AAP.

“(We need to) be really physical, be really aggressive and try to score early in the first quarter.”

Brayshaw conceded that the rebuilding North Melbourne were far hungrier than the Dockers during the first half last week and “sliced us up” through the corridor for almost an hour.

But Fremantle drew on their round-one experience, when they fought back to knock off last year’s beaten grand finalists Brisbane.

They turned the tide before halftime against the Kangaroos and kicked seven consecutive goals in the third quarter after taking control of the midfield battle.

Dockers v North Melbourne.
The Dockers overcame a slow start to defeat North Melbourne for their second win of the season. (Julian Smith/AAP PHOTOS)

“We took a lot of confidence out of (round one), and probably last year … in situations like that we might’ve started to second-guess ourselves and go away from our brand,” Brayshaw said.

“But particularly after (round one) we knew that our way could get it done, so we just stuck to our guns.

“We’ve shown now that we haven’t had fast starts but we’re able to wrestle it back our way.

“They haven’t been the prettiest wins, but they’ve been wins nonetheless, so that will give us confidence.”

Fremantle have won the opening two games of a season for the first time since 2015, when they claimed the minor premiership under Longmuir’s predecessor Ross Lyon.

Brayshaw insists the Dockers aren’t about to rest on their laurels.

“It’s a good start. It’s the position we want to be in with a couple of wins early, but we don’t get any credits going into this week,” Brayshaw said.

“Adelaide are going to be really hungry and they’re going to be physical and try to be really aggressive and attack us from the first bounce.

“We’ll be looking at how we can improve – and there’s plenty to improve on.”