JLT Community Series: Fremantle demolishes West Coast at HBF Arena

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 11: Nathan Fyfe of the Dockers contests a mark during the JLT Community Series AFL match between the Fremantle Dockers and the West Coast Eagles at HBF Arena on March 11, 2018 in Perth, Australia.  (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)
PERTH, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 11: Nathan Fyfe of the Dockers contests a mark during the JLT Community Series AFL match between the Fremantle Dockers and the West Coast Eagles at HBF Arena on March 11, 2018 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

OK that’s done. Now for the real stuff.

And West Coast will be hoping their real stuff resembles little of what they produced against Fremantle at HBF Arena this afternoon, with the Dockers belting their fierce rivals in a 14.17 (101) to 5.9 (39) JLT Community Series demolition.

Thousands of fans filled the banks of the Joondalup ground with the official figure standing at about 7700, though it appeared to be much bigger than that.

Fremantle coach Ross Lyon would be pleased with the pressure shown by his side and no doubt buoyed at seeing captain Nat Fyfe (26 touches, one goal) in fine touch ahead of their round one AFL clash against Port Adelaide in two weeks time.

It may have only been a JLT Community Series game but there was plenty of intent on show.

A bone-shaking hit from Eagles livewire Liam Ryan late in the third quarter left Ed Langdon writhing on the turf.

Ryan showed plenty of promise, kicking the opening goal of the game and gathering 13 disposals.

Man mountain Aaron Sandilands (12 disposals, 24 hitouts) was in amongst it early in the piece, coming from the ground under the blood rule with a cut weeping under his eye.

Ryan and Sandliands shared a moment later in the game when the giant ruckman’s 122kg frame flattened the 71kg first-year player in a big tackle on the flank.

Further evidence of the players’ commitment came in the third term when Hayden Ballantyne (19 possessions, three goals) was crunched by Jeremy McGovern (18 disposals, four marks), but took a strong overhead mark.

Ballantyne converted the effort, which came from a pinpoint Michael Walters (19 touches, two goals) pass, into a goal.

Lachie Neale was the best player on the ground with 11 disposals in the opening stanza, which grew to 36 touches and three goals by the final siren.

The Eagles’ lacklustre display was perhaps best summed up in the third quarter when star player Luke Shuey dropped a simple mark delivered by foot from Andrew Gaff.

Shuey’s fumble allowed Fremantle’s Brayshaw to wrap him up in tackle and trap him holding the ball.

Earlier in the term, captain Shannon Hurn attempted a kick across the face of the Dockers’ attacking 50, which was intercepted and sent through the goal by Danyle Pearce.

Fremantle broke the game open in the second term, kicking six goals to West Coast’s one and taking an 8.10 (58) to 3.3 (21) lead into half time.

Fremantle boasted the top ten disposal winners up to the main break, led by Neale’s 18.

McGovern, Dom Sheed (16 disposals) and Jamie Cripps (one goal) had 10 touches each as West Coast’s busiest players. McGovern became more prominent in the second term with his characteristic intercept play as Fremantle continued to pump the ball inside 50.

Neale kicked the first goal inside the first five minutes of the second quarter to begin a run of majors the Eagles would not break until the 25-minute mark through a Cripps set shot.

Matt Taberner (two goals) could have had his third early in the quarter after mark deep inside 50 but a terrible kick sprayed across the face and out of bounds on the full.

Taberner was a big presence inside 50 early in the game but faded out of the contest.

Walters kicked the goal of the game at the seven-minute mark of the second term after Freo linked from defence and went coast to coast. The dynamic forward ducked under a tackle, turning his defender inside out and spearing it home.

Neale’s second goal came from a scything Luke Ryan pass inside 50 late in the term.

Fyfe kicked his only goal of the game 10 minutes into the third quarter with a soaring set shot just inside 50 from a tough angle.

The Eagles’ Jake Waterman, looking for a round one spot, produced a similar effort at the other end of the ground, using a strong breeze to nail a swinging set shot from about 40m out.