Highlights: Fremantle v Gold Coast
The Dockers and Suns clash in round 2
A DOMINANT ruck display by Aaron Sandilands led Fremantle to a comfortable 48-point wet weather win over the Gold Coast.
On the first wet day Perth has experienced this year, the Dockers were too strong for the Suns winning 12.15 (87) to 5.9 (39) infront of 35,583 fans at Patersons Stadium.
Sandilands ruck dominance was extraordinary and provided the Fremantle midfielders with so much impetus. The 211cm giant had a career-high 58 hit outs with Michael Barlow, Nat Fyfe, David Mundy and Stephen Hill the major beneficiaries of his 21 hits to advantage. It was the fourth time in Sandilands 12-year career he had in excess of 50 hit outs.
"It started with Aaron, and then Fyfe, Mundy, Hill - Crowley was super on Ablett.
"I thought we cracked them wide open in the end. We dominated the game, and with a bit more accurate kicking it would have been even more emphatic."
The Suns midfield were monstered for most of the night but David Swallow fought hard gathering 27 disposals, and debutant Kade Kolodjashnij performed admirably collecting 19 touches.
"We didn’t score enough," McKenna said.
"We know Fremantle is a tough side to score against. I thought the effort was there.
"But I think the weight of those numbers – though some might be close in some aspects – I think just their polish, experience, composure, home ground.
"We’ve got to learn to play in those conditions and these environments. That’s why I think it’s a really good step for our group."
The Suns started brightly in the gloom kicking the first two goals of the match courtesy of two neat set shots from Sam Day and Brandon Matera.
The highly anticipated match-up between Gary Ablett and Ryan Crowley made for fascinating viewing and helped the Dockers arrest the momentum. The two-time Brownlow medallist was held to just 24 touches and was clearly frustrated.
Ablett slung Crowley in frustration and the Dockers' tagger kicked his side's first goal from the resulting free kick and 50m penalty. Fremantle kicked three more with the aid of a flukey wind to establish a 12-point quarter-time lead.
The second term was very scrappy as the rain fell relentlessly. Both sides were plagued by handling errors, as the ball resembled a cake of soap. The two teams mirrored each other kicking 1.4 each for the quarter.
The big bodies in the Dockers midfield took control after half-time thanks to the silver service supply from Sandilands.
The Dockers were able to lock the ball inside their attacking zone for the majority of the third term and kicked three goals to one as a result.
The Suns managed just three goals after quarter-time as the Dockers frugal defence held firm.
It was rare wet-weather football at Patersons Stadium. Picture: AFL Media
FREMANTLE 4.1 5.5 8.9 12.15 (87)
GOLD COAST 2.1 3.5 4.8 5.9 (39)
Fremantle: Walters 2, Mzungu 2, Barlow 2, Crowley, Johnson, Pearce, Hill, Sheridan, Duffield
Gold Coast: Day 2, Hall, Matera, Lynch
Fremantle: Barlow, Mundy, Sandilands, Fyfe, Walters, Mzungu
Gold Coast: Swallow, Ablett, Prestia, Rischitelli, McKenzie, Day
Gold Coast: TBA
Fremantle: Tom Sheridan replaced Jack Hannath during the third quarter
Gold Coast: Timmy Sumner replaced Matt Shaw during the third quarter
Umpires: Ryan, Kamolins, Fisher
Official crowd: 35,583 at the Patersons Stadium
The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs