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United by Purple

Ballas happier with method rather than result

Watch the highlights from Freo's 62-point JLT Series win. The Fremantle Dockers and Eagles clash in the JLT.

While pleased with Fremantle’s 62-point JLT Community Series defeat of West Coast on Sunday at HBF Arena, Hayden Ballantyne said it was the manner of Fremantle’s performance that was most important. 

After the Eagles kicked the opening two goals, Fremantle controlled the game with impressive ball movement and pressure around the ground.

Lachie Neale led the way with 36 disposals and three goals, helped considerably by Aaron Sandilands’ dominance of the ruck, while Darcy Tucker, Andrew Brayshaw, Ed Langdon, Luke Ryan and Bailey Banfield all made important contributions from Freo’s younger ranks.

Ballantyne was also at his tenacious best, kicking three goals and adding significantly to Freo’s forward pressure with seven tackles. 

“The win was good but I’m more happy with the way we were moving the ball,” Ballantyne told former Fremantle captain Matthew Pavlich after the final siren on the Fox Footy broadcast. 

“Our stoppage work was really good. The big fella Aaron (Sandilands) was getting his hands on the ball all the time and giving our mids first use.


“It was great to be out there and good to get a few goals on the board.”

The Fremantle forwards were given plenty of chances to hit the scoreboard by the hard-working midfield, delivering 61 inside 50s to the Eagles' 33, seeing Freo have 31 scoring shots to 14.

Matt Taberner was outstanding as a key forward, with two goals and taking 12 marks with five of those contested, with Ballantyne paying tribute to the 24-year-old for also creating chances for the small forwards.

“Tabs, he’s bringing the ball to ground if he’s not marking, which is really good for us little fellas to get a few crumbs,” Ballantyne said.

With 18 disposals and a goal, rookie Bailey Banfield continued to press for a round one debut, while Langdon stepped up in the absence of the Hill brothers, providing run and carry with six inside 50s to go with his 22 disposals.

“Bailey’s got a pretty big body to him, he’s pretty strong and he’s quick-as,” Ballantyne said.

“He’s been really good and his forward pressure has been outstanding.

“Ed, he’s can run all day. He’s a machine runner. It would be good if he hits me a few times too!"

After an impressive Freo performance, Ballantyne said it was important to keep building for the first test of the home and away season against Port Adelaide on Saturday 24 March.

“We’re looking forward to a fierce contest against Port Adelaide,” Ballantyne said.

“I can’t wait to get out there and compete against a quality side.”

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs