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  • Goals 16
  • Behinds 10
  • Total 106

FULL
TIME

  • Goals 14
  • Behinds 6
  • Total 90
  • FORM:
  • L
17th
  • FORM:
  • W
8th

Match Report

Freo open new home in style against Bombers

By Travis King - afl.com.au Exclusive to AFL Bigpond Network March 31, 2018 2:31 PM

Watch the highlights from Saturday's win over Essendon.

Watch the highlights from Freo's 16-point win over the Bombers at Optus Stadium.

Fremantle has christened new home Optus Stadium with a first-up win and raised some early doubts about Essendon's credibility as a top-four contender with a rousing 16-point victory on Saturday night.

Superstar skipper Nat Fyfe led from the front on a marquee occasion, as the Fremantle Dockers delivered on their promise to light up WA's world-class football venue with an entertaining brand of football.

Freo topped the ton for the first time since beating the Bombers at Subiaco Oval 17 games ago and ran out 16.10 (106) to 14.6 (90) winners. 

After storming home against Adelaide in round one, Essendon was close enough if good enough trailing by 22 points at the final change. 

But John Worsfold's men couldn't conjure another stirring comeback. 

Ed Langdon's second major to open the fourth quarter made Essendon's already difficult task even tougher and when impressive first-gamer Adam Cerra (nine disposals) slotted his second Freo had the game by the scruff of the neck.

Three late goals limited the scoreboard damage for the Bombers but they will count this as a missed opportunity. 

For Freo, this performance was the perfect response to a turnover-laden 50-point loss to Port Adelaide in the season opener. 

Fremantle's ball movement was slick, especially from half-back through Nathan Wilson (23 disposals), Connor Blakely (30) and Luke Ryan (22), while Fyfe (29, one goal) powered an engine room that held sway for most of the contest.  

Confident-looking spearhead Matt Taberner was the major beneficiary of Freo's attacking mindset, slotting four goals, one short of his career-best.  

At the other end, Essendon's three-pronged tall forward line was blunted, although unheralded James Stewart (two goals) tried hard.  

Young defender Alex Pearce held Essendon star Joe Daniher goalless, while Joel Hamling was rock-solid on his return.

Key playmaker Stephen Hill (26 disposals, one goal) also got through unscathed in his first match in 2018 after quad and calf trouble. 

Michael Hurley (25 possessions), recruit Devon Smith (20, one goal), Dyson Heppell (24, one) and Darcy Parish (22) fought hard for the Bombers but key off-season acquisition Jake Stringer had only nine touches on a quiet night.

In front of a 49,021-strong crowd – about 4,500 fewer than for West Coast's first home game – Freo started in white-hot touch. 

Taberner brought the Purple Army to life with a superb finish from the pocket inside 20 seconds and Freo's fanbase was in full voice when David Mundy sharked Michael Hurley's spilled marking attempt.  

Fremantle were controlling clearances on the back of Aaron Sandilands' influence but the Bombers soon steadied. 

Essendon snatched the lead with a quick-fire burst of four majors before Cam McCarthy gave the home side a slender two-point lead at quarter-time. 

The sides kept exchanging blows throughout the second stanza, with the Dons refusing to let the home team run away with the contest, only trailing by eight points at the long break.

But the Bombers never hit the front after half-time as they slumped to a seventh-straight loss in Perth, while Freo's four first-year players – Andrew Brayshaw, Bailey Banfield, Mitch Crowden and Cerra – plus recruits Brandon Matera and Wilson toasted their first triumph in purple.

MEDICAL ROOM
Fremantle: Big man Aaron Sandilands came off briefly in the third term with a blood nose but otherwise Fremantle appeared to have a clean bill of health. Bradley Hill looked in all sorts of trouble when he lay prone on the far wing in the final term but managed to jog off under his own steam before going to the rooms with an apparent problem with his already strapped left knee. Hill returned to play out the match. 

Essendon: Adam Saad hobbled off the ground late in the third quarter with an apparent left knee injury but returned to play out the final term. 

NEXT UP
The Freo Dockers are back at Optus Stadium in seven days for an 'away' game against the in-form Suns, while Essendon has a clash with under pressure Etihad Stadium co-tenant the Western Bulldogs next Sunday afternoon.

FREMANTLE     4.2    8.4    12.8    16.10 (106)
ESSENDON       4.0   7.2     9.4      14.6 (90)

GOALS
Fremantle: Taberner 4, Mundy 2, Cerra 2, Langdon 2, Fyfe, McCarthy, Ballantyne, Walters, Matera, S.Hill
Essendon: Begley 2, Stewart 2, Green 2, Bellchambers 2, Smith, Hooker, Heppell, McDonald-Tipungwuti, Langford, McKenna

BEST
Fremantle: Fyfe, Neale, Wilson, Blakely, Taberner, Ryan, Hamling
Fremantle: Hurley, Smith, Merrett, Parish, Green, Heppell

INJURIES
Fremantle: B.Hill (knee)
Essendon: Saad (leg)

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Dean Margetts, Nick Foot, Jeff Dalgleish

Crowd: 49,021 at Optus Stadium

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Match Stats

Disposal Leaders
  • Connor Blakely
    Connor Blakely
    30
  • Fremantle
    Nat Fyfe
    29
  • Fremantle
    Lachie Neale
    28
  • Fremantle
    Stephen Hill
    26
  • Fremantle
    Michael Walters
    26
Fantasy Leaders
  • Nat Fyfe
    Nat Fyfe
    123
  • Fremantle
    Michael Walters
    120
  • Fremantle
    Connor Blakely
    119
  • Essendon
    Devon Smith
    115
  • Fremantle
    Luke Ryan
    113
Scoring Leaders
  • Matt Taberner
    Matt Taberner
    4.0
  • Fremantle
    David Mundy
    2.2
  • Fremantle
    Adam Cerra
    2.1
  • Essendon
    James Stewart
    2.1
  • Essendon
    Josh Green
    2.1

Match Stats

  • 399 Disposals 359
  • 74.9 Disposal Eff 68.5
  • 151 Contested Pos 142
  • 105 Marks 71
  • 23 Free Kicks 22
  • 32 Clearances 30
  • 56 Inside 50s 45
  • 29 Rebound 50s 39
  • 65 Tackles 72
  • 42 Hit-outs 18
  • 82 Interchanges 83

Breakdown

  • 4.2 (26)
    4.0 (24)
  • 8.4 (52)
    7.2 (44)
  • 12.8 (80)
    9.4 (58)
  • 16.10 (106)
    14.6 (90)

Player Stats

Fremantle

Player K H D M HO FF FA T G B AF
1Nat Fyfe 19 10 29 7 0 1 1 5 1 1 123
2Michael Walters 13 13 26 5 0 4 1 8 1 1 120
3Connor Blakely 19 11 30 12 0 0 0 1 0 0 119
4Luke Ryan 19 3 22 12 0 1 1 4 0 0 113
5Nathan Wilson 20 3 23 11 0 0 0 2 0 1 108
6Lachie Neale 14 14 28 1 0 3 0 6 0 0 100
7Bradley Hill 13 6 19 6 0 0 1 6 0 0 90
8Matt Taberner 10 6 16 4 10 0 2 2 4 0 90
9David Mundy 13 9 22 4 0 1 1 2 2 2 89
10Stephen Hill 16 10 26 3 0 2 0 1 1 0 89
11Brandon Matera 15 5 20 2 0 2 0 3 1 1 82
12Andrew Brayshaw 11 5 16 3 0 2 1 5 0 0 71
13Bailey Banfield 9 5 14 6 0 1 0 3 0 0 68
14Adam Cerra 6 3 9 4 0 1 0 4 2 1 66
15Ed Langdon 10 3 13 3 0 0 1 2 2 0 62
16Hayden Ballantyne 8 3 11 3 0 0 1 4 1 1 59
17Michael Johnson 7 10 17 5 0 1 0 0 0 0 57
18Alex Pearce 6 7 13 4 0 2 0 1 0 0 50
19Aaron Sandilands 1 9 10 1 32 1 3 0 0 0 48
20Cam McCarthy 4 8 12 4 0 0 4 2 1 0 42
21Joel Hamling 4 8 12 3 0 0 2 2 0 0 39
22Mitchell Crowden 4 7 11 2 0 1 3 2 0 1 33

Essendon

Player K H D M HO FF FA T G B AF
1Devon Smith 11 9 20 2 0 3 1 13 1 0 115
2David Zaharakis 14 10 24 2 0 3 1 9 0 0 104
3Dyson Heppell 12 12 24 5 0 2 3 7 1 0 102
4Michael Hurley 18 7 25 8 0 1 0 0 0 0 93
5Conor McKenna 10 14 24 3 0 2 0 2 1 0 83
6Zach Merrett 10 11 21 0 0 2 0 6 0 0 78
7Darcy Parish 8 14 22 5 0 1 1 3 0 0 77
8Mitch Brown 8 8 16 6 0 0 0 3 0 0 70
9Brendon Goddard 10 11 21 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 70
10Tom Bellchambers 6 5 11 2 16 1 3 3 2 0 66
11Josh Green 9 3 12 2 0 0 1 4 2 1 65
12Kyle Langford 11 4 15 2 0 1 1 3 1 0 63
13Cale Hooker 7 5 12 4 0 2 0 2 1 1 60
14Matt Dea 7 8 15 5 0 0 0 1 0 0 56
15James Stewart 8 4 12 6 0 1 3 0 2 1 55
16Josh Begley 5 7 12 3 0 0 2 2 2 1 53
17Adam Saad 6 10 16 2 0 1 1 2 0 0 50
18Joe Daniher 9 5 14 3 2 1 3 2 0 1 49
19Andrew McGrath 7 9 16 0 0 0 2 3 0 0 45
20Jake Stringer 4 5 9 1 0 0 0 5 0 0 45
21Michael Hartley 7 4 11 3 0 0 1 1 0 0 39
22Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti 5 2 7 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 33

Team Lineups

Essendon

B

  • Conor McKenna,
  • Michael Hurley,
  • Michael Hartley

HB

  • Adam Saad,
  • Mitch Brown,
  • Brendon Goddard

C

  • David Zaharakis,
  • Zach Merrett,
  • Darcy Parish

HF

  • Andrew McGrath,
  • Cale Hooker,
  • Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti

F

  • Josh Green,
  • Joe Daniher,
  • James Stewart

Fol

  • Tom Bellchambers,
  • Dyson Heppell,
  • Devon Smith

I/C

  • Kyle Langford,
  • Josh Begley,
  • Jake Stringer,
  • Matt Dea

No Late Change

In

  • No Change

Milestones:

  • Adam Saad  - Played 50th game,
  • Josh Green  - Played 100th game

Last updated: 2:06PM Thursday, April 5, 2018