AFTER coach Michael Voss this week suggested his side needed to rely more on intent than talent, it was a switched-on Brisbane Lions unit that hit the ground at Patersons Stadium to take on Fremantle on Saturday.
Some push and shove before the opening bounce suggested the visitors were there to play, but Alex Silvagni’s torn jumper was the only lasting damage as Fremantle led all day to run out 40 point winners, 12.14 (86) to 6.10 (46).
Five talking points: Fremantle v Brisbane Lions
The low scoring nature of the contest kept the Lions seemingly within range throughout the first three quarters and they trailed by four straight kicks at the last change, but there was never a point where the result was in doubt.
David Mundy was a stand-out for Fremantle, gathering possessions freely and chipping in with two vital goals in the third quarter, while Michael Barlow was back to his pre-injury best.
Zac Clarke stood up in the ruck but there's no doubt the side will be better when Aaron Sandilands takes his place back on the field.
Fremantle also enjoyed good games from the Pearces, Clancee and Danyle, along with Garrick Ibbotson and Michael Johnson, who kicked two goals running out from defence.
"It’s not always going to be champagne football but sometimes you just have to get it done," Fremantle coach Ross Lyon said
in the post-match press conference.
"But in the end we worked through it. I don’t think anyone walks away satisfied, but we bank four points and at the legitimate half way mark, I think we will take where we sit."
Click here to vote for the three best Fremantle players from the game
The Lions’ forward line was missing the big-bodied presence of Jonathan Brown but veteran Ashley McGrath did his best to fill the gap, presenting well but his wayward kicking let him down as he finished with 2.3 from some very gettable opportunities.
Mitch Golby worked tirelessly, picking up 29 possessions while Jordan Lisle booted three goals.
Joel Patfull was terrific defensively holding Hayden Ballantyne goalless in his 150th game, and Jed Adcock had a run-with role of his own on speedster Stephen Hill, holding him to 17 disposals.
The Lions started well with the first goal of the game through Lisle, but then Fremantle took control.
Sam Mayes continued his impressive debut season with 25 disposals but as Voss noted there just wasn't enough class in the Lions line-up.
"I thought that for most part the general flow of the game was going pretty well for us," Lion's coach Michael Voss said.
"We weren’t able to hit the scoreboard often enough and obviously the pressure builds from there.
"It still came down to that last quarter, a couple of moments here or there, we just didn’t capitalize on it," he said.
One Lion with impeccable credentials is Simon Black who entered the game as the club's new games record holder, surpassing former teammate Marcus Ashcroft, but even that finished poorly with Black subbed off in the third quarter and left to watch his big day in the red vest.
Click here to vote for the three best Brisbane Lions players from the game
It was Fremantle lock-down artist Ryan Crowley, himself celebrating his 150th match, who shadowed the classy Black until his benching, a fitting analogy for the dour yet successful tactics of Ross Lyon.
Another minor melee broke out in the closing stages of the game but it was a last spark of life from a contest that never raised itself to particularly high levels.
The Lions, and especially Michael Voss, will be desperate to inject some vigour into their efforts through the remainder of the season, while Lyon and his Dockers would have to be happy with the way 2013 is panning out.
Fremantle improve to an 8-2 record with a draw for the season to leapfrog Essendon into fourth position with the Bombers still to play Gold Coast.
The Lions slip to 3-8 and remain 15th.
Simon Black and Ryan Crowley both celebrated milestone games. Picture: AFL Media
FREMANTLE 3.4 6.7 8.9 12.14 (86)
BRISBANE LIONS 2.1 3.7 4.9 6.10 (46)
Mundy 2, Mayne 2, Johnson 2, De Boer, Danyle Pearce, Hannath, Clarke, Crowley, Hill
Lisle 3, McGrath 2, Rockliff
Mundy, Barlow, Ibbotson, Danyle Pearce, McPharlin, Johnson
Golby, Lester, McGrath, Lisle, Rich, Redden
Hayden Crozier replaced Alex Silvagni in the third quarter
Sam Docherty replaced Simon Black in the third quarter
Fleer, Dalgleish, McBurney
33,384 at Patersons Stadium