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Match report: Dockers seal Blues' winless pre-season

JLT: Highlights: Fremantle v Carlton The Dockers and Blues clash in week 5 of the JLT Community series
PERTH, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 10: Nathan Fyfe of the Dockers celebrates a Super goal during the AFL 2017 JLT Community Series match between the Fremantle Dockers and the Carlton Blues at Domain Stadium on March 10, 2017 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Carson/AFL Media)
Nat Fyfe showed his class all night

DOMINANT Fremantle superstar Nat Fyfe has tuned-up for a round one showdown with Geelong champion Patrick Dangerfield by inspiring the Dockers to a 21-point pre-season triumph over Carlton.

But injuries suffered by gun forward Hayden Ballantyne, who walked slowly off the ground in the third quarter with a left hamstring issue, and defender Cam Sutcliffe (ankle) soured Freo's 2.12.14 (104) to 0.12.11 (83) victory at Domain Stadium.

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"Cam will be fine, he'll be slow early in the week and then he'll get going," coach Ross Lyon said.

"Hayden is disappointing, he was really humming along and looking cherry-ripe.

"We need the scans, so I don't want to pre-empt anything, but he's saying it feels like a relatively normal hamstring, so (probably) 3-4 weeks."

Hamstrung Docker set to miss a month

In his third game back from a broken leg, Fyfe saved his best JLT Community Series performance for last, while recruit Cam McCarthy starred with a bag of six goals.

The Blues' defeat consigned them to a winless pre-season, however Patrick Cripps (26 disposals) gave fans a reason to smile in his second match returning from a stress reaction in his back.

"He's a bull. He had a real crack," Carlton coach Brendon Bolton said.

"It just shows that mindset in football is really important and he's determined to push his body to give himself the best prep for round one given he's been interrupted in pre-season, so (that's) good willpower."

Star onballer Bryce Gibbs (27), veteran half-back Kade Simpson (32), Sam Docherty (30) and skipper Marc Murphy (27) also found plenty of the ball 13 days out from the season-opener against Richmond at the MCG.

But it was Fyfe who stole the show on Friday night, booting a supergoal and six-pointer from 38 touches – 16 contested - with seven marks and five clearances.

It was the perfect warm-up for round one, when the new Freo skipper and 2015 Brownlow medallist will renew his rivalry with Dangerfield – the top Cat who assumed Fyfe's mantle as the game's best player last year.

 

Fyfe led a Fremantle midfield which capitalised on an armchair ride from giant ruckman Aaron Sandilands, who had a mortgage on the hit-outs (37) in his battle with Matthew Kreuzer.

Doig medallist Lachie Neale (37 disposals), Stephen Hill (32) and David Mundy (28) all cashed-in and drove the promising win.

Up forward, McCarthy fed off the midfield supply, with goalsneak Michael Walters and big man Jonathan Griffin also dangerous.

After copping flak for a disappointing four-goal effort against St Kilda, the feisty Blues had more bite in attack.

Jacob Weitering offered a strong aerial presence, while classy recruit Jarrod Pickett was lively with three majors, putting his hand up for a round one debut after an injury-riddled two seasons at Greater Western Sydney.

Although the Dockers had enough answers for the persistent Blues – with draftee Griffin Logue icing the cake on debut by banging through a supergoal in the final term – losing Ballantyne is a blow heading into round one. 

 

WHAT WE LEARNED
Fremantle: Cam McCarthy is starting to shake off the rust after a long stint on the sidelines. The former Giant sat out last season before his trade to Fremantle was given the green light and the 21-year-old admitted the pace of the game surprised him upon a goalless return against West Coast. McCarthy then booted one major against Collingwood but largely went unrewarded. His workrate couldn't be faulted again in the win over Carlton, but this time he bagged six majors in a timely confidence boost before round one.

Carlton: The Blues had huge headaches hitting the scoreboard last season and were panned for only kicking four majors with an understrength side last week against St Kilda. The return of key personnel in midfield helped rectify that, but Jacob Weitering playing in attack – alongside electric sidekick Jarrod Pickett - appears to give Brendon Bolton a more dangerous forward line. Carlton needs talent up forward and, with the key defensive posts well-stocked, Weitering should start inside 50 in round one against the Tigers.

NEW FACES
Fremantle: Turfing a simple mark with his first touch wasn't the start Griffin Logue was hoping for, but the top-10 pick quickly made amends with a booming supergoal and showed plenty to excite fans on his Dockers debut. Ex-Giants star Cam McCarthy was outstanding, covering plenty of territory and booting six majors, while former Hawks wingman Bradley Hill continued his impressive form. Best mates Joel Hamling and Shane Kersten were both solid building towards the real deal in 16 days' time.

 

Carlton: Exciting small forward Jarrod Pickett pushed his case for round one with three goals and a willingness to chase in attack, while ex-Cat Billie Smedts was promising with 21 touches. Caleb Marchbank was solid in defence, allowing Jacob Weitering to be stationed up forward. Rhys Palmer tried hard to finish with 17 touches and a goal, while first-year player Harrison Macreadie was quiet in limited game time. Facing his ex-teammates Alex Silvagni copped a high hit from Shane Kersten in the opening term and was otherwise solid down back. 

 

NEXT UP
The countdown is on until Carlton opens the 2017 season against Richmond on a Thursday night at the MCG in 13 days' time. Fremantle faces Geelong in the final game of round one at Domain Stadium on Sunday, March 26.



FREMANTLE   0.4.3   1.7.7   1.10.12   2.12.14 (104)
CARLTON       0.2.2   0.6.7   0.10.8     0.12.11 (83)

SUPERGOALS
FREMANTLE: Fyfe, Logue
CARLTON: Nil

GOALS
FREMANTLE: McCarthy 6, Fyfe, Walters, Kersten, Griffin, D.Pearce, Ballantyne
CARLTON: Pickett 3, Wright, Gibbs, Weitering, J.Silvagni, Rowe, Lamb, Kreuzer, Thomas, Palmer

BEST 
Fremantle: Fyfe, McCarthy, S.Hill, Sandilands, Neale, Mundy
Carlton: Cripps, Kerridge, Simpson, Docherty, Weitering, Murphy 

INJURIES
Fremantle: Sutcliffe (ankle), Ballantyne (hamstring)
Carlton: Nil  

Reports: Nil 

Umpires: Margetts, Stevic, Williamson, Power

Official crowd: 6639 at Domain Stadium