THE ‘DANGERWOOD’ aura lives on, but Geelong had plenty of other things to smile about in their sometimes spiteful 42-point thumping of Fremantle in Sunday's clash at Domain Stadium.
Patrick Dangerfield (24 disposals, nine tackles, three goals) and Joel Selwood (28 touches) picked up where they left off last season, helping power Geelong to the 18.7 (115) to 10.13 (73) win.
But Mitch Duncan (30 disposals, one goal) was also prolific in the rout, while up forward Tom Hawkins (three goals) gave Geelong a strong target, and Lincoln McCarthy also bagged three goals.
Frem v Geel: Full match coverage and stats
With six Cats scoring multiple goals, coach Chris Scott was pleased with his side's potency.
"They're (Dangerfield and Selwood) still really good players and really important to us, but our forward half looked dangerous," he said.
"We also understand and acknowledge that Freo had to take some risks later in the game to try to score which gave us some good looks the other way as well, so I won't get carried away with how dangerous our forward line looked.
"But when the ball went forward – even when it hit the ground – we seemed to have some options that were different to the standards that Geelong supporters have had in the last four or five years."
New Dockers skipper Nat Fyfe (28 disposals, one goal) and ruckman Aaron Sandilands (48 hit-outs) tried their best to lift Fremantle, but poor turnovers hurt the home side time and again.
Worryingly, Fremantle's new forward line combination failed to fire.
Former GWS forward Cameron McCarthy finished with 1.5, while ex-Cat Shane Kersten was goalless from just seven disposals.
The much-hyped match-up between Fyfe and Dangerfield started off as a fizzer.
The two Brownlow medallists hardly crossed paths in the opening term, tallying just 11 possessions between them.
Dangerfield had only four possessions for the term, but he took a big grab up forward and duly converted to help give his side a 17-point lead at quarter-time.
Five talking points: Fremantle v Geelong
The Cats blew the game wide open in the second term as their lead stretched to 39 points.
A series of horror mistakes in defence cost the Dockers dearly.
Veteran defender Michael Johnson's kick-in didn't clear the man on the mark, with Hawkins guzzling up the goal.
And a Cameron Sutcliffe turnover in defence gifted Daniel Menzel a goal.
The frustrations were clearly starting to bubble among Fremantle players, and Michael Walters eventually snapped when he came to the aid of his skipper Nat Fyfe.
Walters wrestled Tom Ruggles into the fence, even leaning the Geelong defender partially into the crowd as other players wrestled around them.
Tensions boiled over again straight after former Blue Zach Tuohy kicked a goal on the half-time siren.
Geelong maintained their dominance in the second half, with only some dead-time goals to Fremantle avoiding a total blowout.
Speaking post-match, Freo coach Ross Lyon refused to accept skill errors for the defeat, instead blaming himself for not preparing his side for Geelong's "mechanisms" of pushing into the Dockers' forward line and hurting them on transition.
"They (turnovers) happened early and they are not ideal. But that wasn’t the issue," Lyon said.
"We could have had those and won the game if we had have fixed those things (mechanisms) I spoke about.
"So I walk out of here with a clear direction of what I need to coach and deliver in the review and the players know that."
Fremantle: There were four new faces in the Dockers' line-up, although none of them had particularly memorable debuts in purple. Ex-Hawks wingman Bradley Hill was the pick of the bunch with 17 touches and a goal but wasn't at his line-breaking best, while former Bulldogs backman Joel Hamling was twice outmarked by Patrick Dangerfield in defence. Cam McCarthy kicked a miraculous goal from the pocket in a quiet performance and – against his old club – Shane Kersten had a nightmare fumbly performance with just seven touches. Nat Fyfe made his return from a broken leg and tried to will the Dockers into the contest with 28 touches and a goal, and Michael Johnson committed some horrible turnovers in his return after missing most of last year.
Geelong: Former Blue Zach Tuohy was very strong across half-back with 24 touches and a booming goal from outside 50 on the half-time siren. Brandan Parfitt was quiet with nine touches, Geelong Football League product Tom Stewart played solidly in defence and Jackson Thurlow got through his comeback from an ACL reconstruction without exerting much influence on the contest.
Fremantle: The Dockers seemingly got through unscathed.
Geelong: Zac Smith was withdrawn before the bounce after pulling up sore from a heavy training workload, but the ruckman should be back next week. Cam Guthrie (calf) remains doubtful after he was pulled from the 25 on Friday. Tom Ruggles needed attention in the rooms after his hands was stepped on but played out the game.
The Dockers hit the road for what suddenly looms as a difficult assignment against Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval on Sunday, while the Cats return 'home' to host North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium.
FREMANTLE 2.2 4.6 6.9 10.13 (73)
GEELONG 5.1 11.3 14.5 18.7 (115)
Fremantle: Langdon, Suban, Neale, S.Hill, Fyfe, Walters, B.Hill, McCarthy, Blakely, Pearce
Geelong: Hawkins 3, McCarthy 3, Dangerfield 3, Motlop 3, Menzel 2, Murdoch, Tuohy, Duncan, Cockatoo
Fremantle: S.Hill, Spurr, Fyfe, Mundy, Sandilands, Langdon
Geelong: Dangerfield, Duncan, Selwood, Hawkins, McCarthy, Henderson
Geelong: Zac Smith (soreness) replaced in selected side by Jackson Thurlow
Umpires: Dalgleish, Meredith, Williamson
Official crowd: 34,638 at Domain Stadium