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Old Dockers Pav, Barlow and Sandi shine against young Tigers

Highlights: Dockers v Tigers Fremantle and Richmond clash in the NAB Challenge
Tendai Mzungu played a key role in the Dockers' win - ${keywords}
Tendai Mzungu played a key role in the Dockers' win

A HAMSTRING injury to Hayden Ballantyne has soured an otherwise impressive 60-point win by Fremantle over Richmond at Rushton Park in Mandurah.

The Dockers' stars took control from the opening bounce to dispatch an inexperienced Tigers' side 0.14.6 (90) to 0.4.6 (30). 

Ballantyne's injury put a dampener on the performance. He limped off early in the second term and went straight to the rooms for treatment on his left hamstring. He took no further part in the match.

Richmond lost Ty Vickery in the opening term to concussion. He had to be helped from the ground by a trainer and did not return.

The Dockers looked sharp despite the Tigers' obvious inexperience. Lachie Neale (29 disposals) and Michael Barlow (27) dominated in the midfield,  Michael Walters also pushed through the centre and was very damaging at times, while Tendai Mzungu was impressive floating forward and kicking two goals.

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Matthew Pavlich, Matt Taberner and Jon Griffin provided a triple threat up front kicking eight goals between them, with Pavlich looking particularly sharp taking 10 marks and kicking flawlessly in front of goal.

"We came here to build on our patterns of play with and without the ball and we thought we did that," Fremantle coach Ross Lyon said post-match.

WATCH: Ross Lyon's press conference

"We acknowledge it was against an inexperienced outfit but that certainly didn't interest us."  

Brownlow medallist Nat Fyfe sat out the first two quarters but took an outstanding mark and worked hard in the middle during the second half gathering 11 contested possessions, the equal most for the match.

"I thought he worked into it pretty well," Lyon said.

"He might play three-quarters next week or a full game. He was really keen to get out there and play." 


The Tigers had few winners on the ground. Shaun Grigg and Reece Conca worked hard in the middle. Kane Lambert gathered 17 touches while Oleg Markov and Mabior Chol showed some good signs throughout the match.

Tigers' stand-in coach Brendon Lade was happy with the application of his young players.

WATCH:Brendon Lade's press conference 

"Our guys battled pretty hard all day," Lade said.

"Some of our kids today were very, very good, our first, second and third year players. Obviously the scoreboard didn't reflect exactly what we wanted but we're preparing for round one as best we can and we think this is our best preparation going towards that."

Lade said the Tigers would be close to full strength against Hawthorn next week.


Fremantle: Michael Walters is going to add a lot of class and depth to the Dockers' midfield this season. He has been training there during the pre-season and started the game in the centre square where he was silky smooth with his ball use and decision-making. Lachie Weller looked sharp at half-forward which allowed Walters to push up the ground.

Lachie Weller brings Stephen Morris to the ground on Friday night. Picture: AFL Media

Richmond: The experiment of using Troy Chaplin up forward is worth persisting with for the Tigers. He played most of the match up forward and fought a lone hand at times after Ty Vickery and Ben Griffiths spent large chunks of time on the bench due to head knocks. He kicked a goal and worked hard. The Tigers should stick with it.

Fremantle: The Dockers' first pick in last year's draft Darcy Tucker looked impressive on debut for his new club. He gathered 21 touches and appeared composed with the ball. Sam Collins did not see that much game time but he did not look out of place.  

Richmond: Oleg Markov and Mabior Chol caught the eye. Sudanese born Chol kicked a goal in the last quarter and took three marks up forward, while Markov got plenty of the ball and used it well. Jacob Townsend was quiet with just 11 possessions.

The Dockers head four hours south of Perth to the town of Mount Barker to face Adelaide. The Tigers head home to Victoria to face Hawthorn at Beaconsfield in a twilight fixture next Saturday.  

FREMANTLE      0.4.0   0.8.1   0.11.4   0.14.6 (90)
RICHMOND       0.0.1    0.3.4   0.3.4    0.4.6 (30)          

Fremantle: Nil
Richmond: Ni 

Fremantle: Pavlich 4,Griffin 2, Mzungu 2, Taberner 2, Weller, Ballantyne, Barlow, Hannath
Richmond: Menadue, Marcon, Chaplin, Chol 

Fremantle: Neale, Pavlich, Walters, Mzungu, Ibbotson, Barlow
Richmond: Grigg, Corey Ellis, Conca, McIntosh, Menadue

Fremantle: Ballantyne (left hamstring)
Richmond: Vickery (head), Griffiths (head)

Reports: Nil 

Umpires: Dean Margetts, Jeff Dalgleish, Robert O'Gorman, Brent Wallace

Official crowd: 7,500 at Rushton Park 

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs