Hayden Ballantyne celebrates a goal against West Coast
WEST Coast's wobbles in front of goal proved costly yet again as Fremantle broke out of its funk to secure a 19-point win in Sunday's
The Dockers lost defender Zac Dawson to an ankle injury during the second quarter and trailed by six points early in the third term at Patersons Stadium.
But last year's grand finalists dug deep when it mattered most, booting the next six goals to secure the 11.7 (73) to 7.12 (54) win in front of a 40,476-strong pro-Eagles crowd.
"It was a gallant victory. We worked hard to bank the four points," Dockers coach Ross Lyon said.
"It was certainly challenging.
"We came in undersized which we knew but we were happy with that, then the worst possible result - tall defenders (get hurt)."
West Coast only had itself to blame for the loss after spraying a number of gettable shots on goal when the game was on the line.
The Eagles have kicked a combined 23.39 in recent losses to Geelong, Port Adelaide and Carlton.
And they booted 1.8 during the second quarter against the Dockers at a time when they could have set up a handy lead and crushed Fremantle's spirit.
"Third week in a row we've had more scoring shots although I think clearly the momentum was with Fremantle for most of the day," Eagles coach Adam Simpson said.
"We did have our chances in the second quarter and when we do have momentum at the moment we're not capitalising and other teams are."
The result stretched West Coast's losing run to four, while Fremantle improved its record to 4-3 ahead of tough matches against Port Adelaide (away) and Geelong.
Dockers midfielder Lachie Neale won the Ross Glendinning Medal as best afield after tallying 32 possessions and one goal, while Nat Fyfe, Michael Johnson, Paul Duffield, Danyle Pearce and Hayden Ballantyne were also crucial in the win.
Aaron Sandilands (20 possessions, 38 hit-outs) stood tall in his 200th match, beating Dean Cox and Nic Naitanui to take the ruck honours.
Fremantle forward Chris Mayne was forced to play most of the second half as a defender after Dawson was subbed off with his ankle injury.
West Coast midfielder Luke Shuey twisted his right ankle while being tackled by Ryan Crowley in the final quarter.
It was a miracle West Coast didn't trail by more than 14 points at quarter-time.
Fremantle doubled the Eagles' possession count and won the inside-50 count 17-3.
But opportunistic goals to Josh Kennedy and Jamie Cripps limited the damage, with the Dockers left to rue a host of missed chances.
They were also left sweating on the fitness of key defender Luke McPharlin, who limped off in the early minutes with an upper leg injury but managed to return later in the quarter.
The second quarter was in complete contrast to the first, with West Coast dominating proceedings.
The Eagles had nine scoring shots from 11 inside-50s.
But a return of 1.8 let the Dockers off the hook.
Fyfe ran riot in the opening quarter with 13 possessions, but he failed to gather a disposal in the second term as Selwood wore him like a glove.
David Mundy fires out a handball despite the attention of Shannon Hurn. Picture: AFL Media
WEST COAST 2.0 3.8 5.11 7.12 (54)
FREMANTLE 4.2 5.3 9.6 11.7 (73)
West Coast: Cripps 2, Darling 2, Kennedy, Tunbridge, Rosa
Fremantle: Clarke 3, Ballantyne 2, de Boer, Mayne, Barlow, Fyfe, Crowley, Neale
West Coast: Selwood, Darling, Hutchings, Mackenzie, Priddis
Fremantle: Neale, Ballantyne, Fyfe, de Boer, Mundy, Clarke, Sandilands, McPharlin
West Coast: Nil
Fremantle: Dawson (ankle)
West Coast: Will Schofield replaced Scott Lycett in the third quarter
Fremantle: Nick Suban replaced Zac Dawson at half-time
Umpires: Farmer, Hosking, Pannell
Official crowd: 40,476 at Patersons Stadium