Fremantle rocket to 3-0 after beating winless Crows

Justin Chadwick |

The Dockers have roared home to beat Adelaide and remain unbeaten this season.
The Dockers have roared home to beat Adelaide and remain unbeaten this season.

Nat Fyfe has put on a first-half clearance clinic and Alex Pearce was a rock in defence as Fremantle continued their unbeaten start to the AFL season with a 35-point win over Adelaide at Optus Stadium.

Adelaide were their own worst enemy on a bad Good Friday for them, the Crows producing a horror show of errors and poor decision-making to slip to 0-3 for the season.

Despite the poor display, Adelaide trailed by just 10 points at three-quarter time before the Dockers piled on four goals to nil in the final quarter to run away with the 9.15 (69) to 4.10 (34) win in front of 51,037 fans.

The result improved Fremantle’s record to 3-0 in what marks their best start to a season since 2015.

Dockers veteran Nat Fyfe racked up 13 possessions and a whopping eight clearances in the first half alone before fading after that.

Josh Treacy and Nat Fyfe.
Nat Fyfe (R) shows some emotion after a Josh Treacy (L) goal against the Crows. (Richard Wainwright/AAP PHOTOS)

Pearce not only restricted Adelaide spearhead Taylor Walker to 0.1 from seven disposals, but the skipper also provided excellent rebound from defence.

“Our captain played an outstanding game,” Fremantle coach Justin Longmuir said. 

“His ability to come off and impact (as well as) defend his direct man was unbelievable. I thought he played a great game.”

Luke Ryan and Jordan Clark were also excellent down back for Fremantle, while Hayden Young (32 disposals, eight clearances) was prolific in the midfield, picking up from where Fyfe left off.

Adelaide veteran Matt Crouch battled hard for 28 disposals and seven clearances, while skipper Jordan Dawson racked up 27 possessions.

But on a dirty night for the Crows, Wayne Milera limped off late in the third term after injuring his right knee in an awkward landing, and Lachlan Murphy hurt his knee in the final quarter. 

“They’re both going to go and have scans,” Adelaide coach Matthew Nicks said.

“It’s a fingers crossed scenario. Wayne’s looked a little worse than what Murphy’s did.

“We just hope for the individual that it’s nothing major.”

Fremantle gave up sizeable leads to the Brisbane Lions (25 points) and North Melbourne (33 points) across the opening two rounds before storming to victory in each match.

The Crows skipped out to a 17-8 lead against the Dockers in a scrappy first term, but a late goal to Matt Taberner ensured the margin was only three points at quarter time.

Crows players vented their fury at Taberner after the forward barged into an opponent just as the quarter-time siren sounded, sparking an intermittent push-and-shove that lasted about a minute.

The game became even sloppier in the second quarter as Freo won the inside 50m count 16-7 for the term.

Walters had 1.4 to his name before nailing his second goal to give Fremantle the lead, and the veteran provided an important shepherd to set up Jye Amiss for a soccered goal, giving the Dockers an eight-point lead at the long break.

Fremantle’s intense tackling was the feature of the first half, while Adelaide were left to rue numerous turnovers.

The Dockers kicked a wayward 1.5 in the third quarter, with Taberner, Walters, and Michael Frederick all missing gettable shots.

But it was one-way traffic in the final term as Bailey Banfield, Josh Treacy, Taberner and Frederick all bobbed up for goals.