Fremantle defender Matilda Sergeant was tasked with a significant role heading into Freo’s Indigenous Round clash with Brisbane at Fremantle Oval on Saturday afternoon.
Stopping dangerous Lions forward Dakota Davidson.
Heading into the clash, Davidson was equal top on the competition’s goal kickers list, tied with Adelaide’s Erin Phillips on eight goals from the first four games.
Sergeant kept Davidson scoreless and to just five possessions, while the defender was counted as Freo’s best player according to senior coach Trent Cooper.
“I thought Matilda Sergeant’s game was outstanding today,” Cooper said.
“She played on Dakota Davidson, so she was giving away a good 12 to 13 centimetres, kilos and speed as well.
“The job that she did all day was phenomenal…and I thought our backs did stand up again.”
Sergeant credited her fellow backs for their support roles in defence, allowing her to focus on reducing Davidson’s impact.
“I had the job today on her, I just really wanted to play my role and do everything I could to minimise her impact on the game,” Sergeant said.
“I thought I kept with her for the day, but overall, as a backline I think we help each other really well.
“It’s a credit to the other girls for helping me out today.”
Sergeant believed Freo’s trademark pressure and tackle game was not up to scratch against the impressive Brisbane outfit.
Brisbane led Fremantle in the tackle count (59-47), while the Lions had significantly more tackles inside their forward 50 than Freo (21-6).
“(Brisbane) played a really good brand of footy and they were able to hit their short kicks,” Sergeant said.
“We just weren’t able to get to the one-on-one’s quick enough.
“We are just looking to bounce back now, we will get an eight day break and hopefully we’ll roll into the week and train really well.”
Kiara Bowers (24 disposals, eight tackles) and Laura Pugh (15 disposals, four tackles) were Sergeant’s standout performances on the day.
“You can’t go past Turbo, just with her work around the ground…getting every touch she possibly can,” Sergeant said.
“Then down back you have Laura Pugh who is just always there to help you rebound off the defensive 50…she never fails to help you out.
Freo’s round six fixture dropped just hours after the final siren, confirming a second RAC Derby clash against West Coast at Optus Stadium next Sunday.
While she was sitting on the sidelines for last year’s RAC Derby meeting, Sergeant is excited about the prospect of playing in front of a big Optus Stadium crowd.
“I’m really excited for this one…I’ve never played the Eagles at Optus Stadium,” Sergeant said.
“I was watching on last year and the atmosphere was absolutely incredible.
“I honestly just cannot wait to be a part of it.”