It was the win the Fremantle Dockers needed and the Saints didn’t want to give up.
Clashes between these two teams have always been high up in the spotlight. Who can forget the scenes in 2003 when Justin Longmuir kicked a goal after the siren against the Saints at Subiaco Oval to put the Dockers into their first finals, the players celebrating by jumping into the crowd. Go forward a couple of years in Tasmania to Sirengate, when the siren was so low, officials couldn’t hear it, allowing play to continue and St Kilda to draw the match, only for the AFL to award full points to the Dockers.
Fast forward again to Friday night and the ingredients for another unforgettable match were there. Fremantle coach Ross Lyon dumped the Saints to coach the Dockers. Ex Saints defender, Zac Dawson followed him across the country. Both teams had a lot to prove on the night, the Dockers that they were not pretenders under Lyon, the Saints that they did not need Lyon to win. In the end, neither team disappointed.
Granted, it was not a pretty game. The hard, defensive style of the match forced a few scrappy plays, but it was hard not to find a game between two similarly matched squads on the day enjoyable. As the commentators said, it was like watching two twins battle it out, with the styles of both sides showing theLyontouch.
In the end, the Dockers achieved what they had failed many times before. They had beaten the Saints for the first time in eight matches. They had won inMelbournefor the first time since 2010. They had escaped without injury. They came away with the win even though they were challenged in the last quarter. Its hard not to think that the Dockers have grown up quite a bit under Lyon. This was a game they were not supposed to win and yet, they came away with the points.
With no time for celebrations, the team were back on the plane home on Friday night, putting their minds to the Len Hall game againstCarlton, which they will definitely have confidence of winning now.
What I Liked About the Game
Adam McPhee: One of those players that supporters love to hate. McPhee goes hard in at the ball and his pressure and hunger for the sherrin is never in question, but his execution lets him down. Given the task against Stephen Milne, McPhee pretty much tagged him out of the match, no mean feat considering how quick and slippery Milne can be. The tagging role for McPhee definitely suits him, and it needs to be a more permanent one for him.
Tendai Mzungu: The man with the name nobody can pronounce. He has definitely been sliding under the radar these last few weeks. He played exceptionally on Friday night, getting amongst the tackles whilst picking up two goals and 21 possessions. If he keeps his work rate up and keeps getting his hands on the ball, Fremantle could have another genuine elite midfielder along the lines of Michael Barlow and David Mundy.