Highlights: Fremantle v North Melbourne
The Freo and Roos clash in round 13
FREMANTLE has entrenched itself in the top four with a 38-point victory over North Melbourne on a wet Sunday at Patersons Stadium.
The Dockers extended their unbeaten run to eight matches, winning 10.7 (67) to 4.5 (29), in front of 31,637 fans who braved the weather.
Despite the Dockers keeping North Melbourne to its second lowest score in 33 years, Fremantle coach Ross Lyon said he never felt comfortable throughout the match.
"I was really nervous coming here today," Lyon said in the post-match press conference.
"You saw the Swans yesterday when it poured it's just a real grind in those conditions. It's such a big ground it makes everything really difficult."
The wet conditions played into the Dockers' hands. Neither side managed a goal until Michael Barlow soccered a goal from the goalsquare in the dying seconds of the opening term to give Fremantle a seven-point lead at the first change.
It was the class of Nathan Fyfe that separated the two sides in the second. After Aaron Mullet produced a fabulous running goal to start the term, Fyfe's brilliance shone brightly on a dull day.
He took a clutch contested mark and converted from a tight angle. His skills and poise in the wet stood out and Fremantle's pressure suffocated the Kangaroos who managed just 1.3 for the first half, trailing by 27 points at the long break.
Fremantle's pressure dropped off in the third term and opened the door for North Melbourne.
Brent Harvey took a courageous mark going back with the flight and converted the set shot to cut the margin to 21.
Harvey gave that goal back immediately with an ill-disciplined act.
Frustrated with the close attention of tagger Ryan Crowley, Harvey struck Crowley in the throat leading to a 50m penalty and a goal to Michael Johnson.
The Kangaroos stuck to their task admirably but couldn't make significant inroads into the Dockers' lead.
"They don’t roll over and let you score. We had to work for everything, but on the flipside they got some easy ones.
"That’s the way it felt."
The Dockers' 25-point margin at three-quarter time was cut to 19 when Aaron Black kicked a goal early in the final term to give North Melbourne hope.
But the glimmer was snuffed out with a steadying set shot from Hayden Crozier who had been subbed in for Jack Hannath at the last change.
Michael Walters added to a burgeoning highlight reel with a sublime snap from hard against the boundary line to seal the Dockers' ninth win of the year.
Lindsay Thomas was subbed out during the third term with a left-hamstring injury. The leader in the Coleman Medal race coming into round 13 was held goalless for just the second time this season before he was substituted out.
"He got a knock in the buttock/hamstring and it was certainly tightening up," Scott said of Thomas.
"We tried to get him back out there but to me it didn’t look like he was functioning anywhere near his normal level.
"We took him off, but we’re hopeful."
"We've got to send him to hospital for some investigations," Lyon said.
"We're not certain yet. There's a bit of swelling. We'll know more hopefully in a short period of time."
Lee Spurr and Zac Dawson engage in a push and shove with Kangaroo Michael Firrito. Photo: AFL Media
FREMANTLE 1.3 5.6 7.6 10.7 (67)
NORTH MELBOURNE 0.2 1.3 3.5 4.5 (29)
Fremantle: Suban 2, Barlow, Crozier, de Boer, Fyfe, Johnson, Mayne, Hannath, Walters
North Melbourne: Black, Macmillan, Mullett, Harvey
Fremantle: Fyfe, Barlow, Crowley, Clarke, Ibbotson, de Boer
North Melbourne: Swallow, Bastinac, Atley, Gibson, Mullett
Fremantle: Mundy (calf) replaced in selected side by Hayden Crozier, Barlow (face)
North Melbourne: Thomas (left hamstring)
Fremantle: Hayden Crozier replaced Jack Hannath at three-quarter time
North Melbourne: Brad McKenzie replaced Lindsay Thomas during the third quarter
Umpires: Rosebury, Stevic, Mollison
Official crowd: 31,637 at the Patersons Stadium