AFL pre-season: Fremantle Dockers smash West Coast Eagles by 52 points in practice clash

Headshot of Mitchell Woodcock
Mitchell WoodcockThe West Australian
Brandon Walker flies for Freo.
Camera IconBrandon Walker flies for Freo. Credit: Will Russell/Getty Images

If Fremantle’s 52-point win over West Coast was an insight into what is to come, then the theme for the Dockers is going to be bold and for the Eagles it could be brutal.

Both teams would have wanted to get through the game injury free and with an idea if their summer’s work was ready for round one.

Fremantle got the answer they would like, naming a near full-strength side that showed dare, dash and an ability to spread from the contest in a 14.14 (98) to 5.16 (46) win.

The Eagles’ day started poorly when new recruit and No.1 ruckman Matt Flynn was withdrawn from the game with a hamstring tendon injury he sustained in Friday’s captain run.

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The former Greater Western Sydney big man is now in a race to be fit for round one, putting a dent in the Eagles early season plans.

West Coast left with their second-year star Reuben Ginbey in concussion protocols after a second-quarter head collision with Luke Jackson and plugging gaps for their already absent stars.

The Game AFL 2024

Ginbey goes off.
Camera IconGinbey goes off. Credit: Will Russell/Getty Images

And then with 90 seconds left in the game defender Brady Hough injured his right foot after a marking contest but he limped from the ground without the assistance of the trainers.

Hough feels the pinch.
Camera IconHough feels the pinch. Credit: Will Russell/Getty Images

Coach Adam Simpson threw No.1 draftee Harley Reid straight into the deep end, with the teenager starting at the first centre bounce alongside senior teammates Elliot Yeo and Tim Kelly.

The teenager had some great moments and most importantly kept his head when things inevitably didn’t go his way, with his first kick coming from a sprint out of half-back before lacing out a teammate but was otherwise fairly subdued.

Fremantle did most of the running early though, spreading from the contest with confidence as they opened up the spaces at Lathlain to expose the Eagles’ undermanned defence that had ruck Callum Jamieson down back in place of a hamstrung Jeremy McGovern.

The Dockers are clearly going to play a more risky game style in 2024 and it was exemplified by the dash of Jordan Clark off half-back.

Jordan Clark (left).
Camera IconJordan Clark (left). Credit: Will Russell/Getty Images

Fremantle attacked the corridor and didn’t worry about the potential to turn the ball over, instead valuing the risk worth the reward of feeding their growing forward line.

Former captain Nat Fyfe showcased his strength in the contest, albeit more handball happy than previous years, before joining Michael Walters (two goals) and captain Alex Pearce in withdrawing at half-time.

The Dockers were happy to experiment, throwing vice-captain Andy Brayshaw and veteran Jeager O’Meara out onto the wings, while James Aish enjoyed his new role at half-back.

West Coast kept themselves within reach in the first half, but the humidity and intensity appeared to get to them after the main break.

Turnovers in their defensive half were proving costly and the Dockers took advantage thanks to a three-goal term from third-year forward Jye Amiss.

West Coast managed to find goals in the final quarter through Elliot Yeo and Ryan Maric, but they were exhausted as the Dockers ran rampant with Jackson booting two goals including a special one from the left-forward pocket.

FREMANTLE 4.2, 6.6, 10.13, 14.14 (98)

WEST COAST 1.3, 3.9, 3.14, 5.16 (46)

Goals – FREMANTLE: J Amiss 3 L Jackson 2 J Treacy 2 M Walters 2 T Emmett M Frederick C Simpson S Switkowski N O’Driscoll. WEST COAST: O Allen E Yeo T Kelly C Livingstone R Maric.

Best – FREMANTLE: J Clark J Amiss L Jackson N Fyfe C Serong M Johnson T Emmett. WEST COAST: T Kelly J Hunt J Cripps O Allen.

Injuries – WEST COAST: M Flynn (hamstring, late withdrawal) R Ginbey (concussion) B Hough (ankle).

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