I was about two seconds away from disowning the Fremantle Dockers as my AFL club of choice and supporting lawn bowls that’s how frustrated I was with their performance on Saturday afternoon. I had said previously that anything under 40 points would be considered a defeat for the Dockers, not expecting that right up until the last few minutes a defeat is exactly what they were looking at.
Not to diminish how the Suns played on Saturday, because they played really well, but a 7-point win against a team that is yet to win a game this season and only won three last season is definitely not good enough. The Dockers were sluggish and slow. They were the last to the ball most of the time, struggled to contain the young midfielders and if it was not for the success of the long ball over the top of the defenders, struggled to kick goals in yet another game this season.
I do not know if they did not think the Suns could play the way they did or whether it was something to do with the travel, but the way they played on Saturday was definitely not good enough if they want to be able to get into the finals. I feel weird being so critical of a team after a win, but they were playing down right horrendously, especially given the fact that Gold Coast were missing a handful of their senior players. The Dockers were lucky that the likes of Gary Ablett and Nathan Bock were not there. They could have suffered a very embarrassing loss away had they been.
There were not many positives I can pull out of this game, that’s how bad it was. One of the only things I can say was a good point on the Dockers was that they escaped yet another game without a serious injury. Granted Stephen Hill was subbed off with a corked thigh, but there was never any inkling that this was going to be serious enough to stop him from playing against Port Adelaide on Sunday.
All I know is that the Dockers need to step up their game, significantly, for Sunday’s match. They cannot let their opponent get a sniff again. Im proud of the way they have handled these close games this season, holding off Geelong in a thriller, St Kilda in another close game and now Gold Coast. Their comebacks against Sydney and Carlton were also enlightening, especially considering the Dockers of old would have just folded it in, but they need to realise that there would be no need for a fight back if they played with that kind of intensity right from the first bounce. They could have easily been 6-0 if they did not let Sydneyget the jump on them in the first half or if they weren’t so inaccurate against Carlton.
They will need to learn from these games quickly if they want any chance of playing finals.
What I Liked About the Game
Matthew De Boer: I love this guy as a player. He’s always hard at the ball, has amazing defensive pressure for a forward, and always puts his body on the line if it benefits his team. The one thing that seems to have let him down in the past is his conversion in front of goals, especially from set shots. I was beaming when the game ended and he had three to his name from set shots. His pressure is what gave him the clubman award for the last few years, and if he can start converting these set shots, he will become a much better player.
Chris Mayne: Also kicked three goals during the game, and is yet to have a behind registered against him this season, an amazing feat given that in the last couple of years many said they were unsure whether he did enough during the games to warrant being an automatic inclusion in the forward line. Can take a strong overhead mark for a medium sized player and is quickly stamping his authority on a lot of games.