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Match report: Eagles punish wasteful Dockers

Travis King  July 16, 2017 9:39 PM

Highlights: Fremantle v West Coast The Dockers and Eagles clash in round 17
AFL 2017 Round 17 - Fremantle v West Coast

Josh Kennedy kicked three goals in his return

THE FINAL Western Derby at Domain Stadium won't live long in the memory, but West Coast banked four vital points as Fremantle blew a golden opportunity to claim local bragging rights. 

After a huge build-up to the 46th and, almost certainly, last confrontation between the bitter rivals at the soon-to-be defunct Subiaco venue, the error-riddled contest was a letdown as the Eagles claimed victory by 30 points.

Full match coverage and stats

West Coast's five-goal-to-nil opening burst and vastly-superior skills proved the difference in a clash marred by the Dockers' horrendous goalkicking.

Fremantle had the same amount of scoring shots but no winners in attack as the more efficient Eagles ran out 11.8 (74) to 5.14 (44) winners.

WATCH: Dockers' disastrous forward-half disposal

West Coast skipper Shannon Hurn was the unanimous choice as Ross Glendinning medallist after picking up 34 disposals across half-back.

The victory kept the Eagles (9-7) in the hunt for finals but their bonafides as anything other than an also-ran in the premiership race remain up for debate.

Five talking points: Fremantle v West Coast

"I wouldn't say it was the complete game," Eagles coach Adam Simpson said.

"There was a lot of mistakes both ways, and to Fremantle's credit they always pressed and their pressure was elite.

"We'll take the win."

Freo's chances of finals football are now all-but extinguished at 7-9 and the loss could be soured after star Stephen Hill hurt his shoulder in the final term, although he returned to the action after receiving treatment, and will be assessed this week.

Returning Eagles spearhead Josh Kennedy booted three goals and kick-started the first-quarter salvo with the game's opening major, before giving his side a 29-point buffer after the three-quarter time siren.

Kennedy's long-time sidekick Mark LeCras (two) was lively and nailed his 400th career goal, while resurgent tall Jack Darling (two) iced the game late after a well-judged mark.

That trio's threat despite a lack of supply (46-57 inside 50s) offered stark contrast to the Dockers' attacking woes.

Talls Shane Kersten (one goal) and Brennan Cox were ineffective, while star Michael Walters (two, 14 disposals) was shut out by Eagles tagger Mark Hutchings.

Goalsneak Hayden Ballantyne booted one goal from eight touches, with Brad Sheppard taking the points in their duel, but coach Ross Lyon refused to lay the blame for the defeat on the forward line.

"I wouldn't pop the forwards, they were out and they were clear," Lyon said.

"At some point the small forwards have got to hit the other forwards and the mids have got to hit them.

"It's not like they weren't in the right spot."

Dockers wingman Bradley Hill (28 disposals) found plenty of the ball but had a day to forget in front of goal, missing some sitters as he kicked three behinds to sum up Freo's performance.

Superstar skipper Nat Fyfe (30, 19 contested) could hold his head high after fighting all match in midfield and helping Freo gain some ascendancy after trailing 25-3 at quarter-time.

The Dockers' vaunted onball brigade wrestled its way on top but some shocking delivery inside 50, combined with fumbling and bumbling around goals, saw the 'home' side trail by 14 points at the long break.

Freo notched six behinds before Kersten finally broke the drought with a miraculous no-look snap midway through the second term.

The Dockers refused to go away in the second half, dominating clearances (40-28) and closing the margin to 16 points in the final quarter, but the Eagles had enough answers.

Tireless onballer Andrew Gaff (35 disposals), maturing youngster Liam Duggan (31) and intercept marking star Jeremy McGovern (eight marks, one goal) were outstanding for the Eagles, who have now won the past five derbies.

West Coast wrapped up the history of crosstown rivalries at Domain with an overall 26-20 win-loss record after Sunday's win, and the Eagles are now back into eighth spot on the ladder with six rounds remaining.

Fremantle: The Dockers are waiting on an assessment of Stephen Hill (shoulder) but they expect him to be OK to face Hawthorn.

West Coast: The Eagles got through the game unscathed and hope to regain star utility Elliot Yeo (knee) against Collingwood after he was withdrawn late from Sunday's game. Malcolm Karpany (quad) could also be back in the mix, but Eric Mackenzie (hamstring) won't be available and ruckman Scott Lycett (shoulder) might be facing the end of his season after being withdrawn from the side on Friday.  

It feels like every clash is crucial now for West Coast but next Sunday's trip to face Collingwood at Etihad Stadium could make-or-break the Eagles' faint top-four hopes and will have significant finals implications. The Dockers will want to respond when they host Hawthorn on Saturday night.

FREMANTLE             0.3      2.8      3.13    5.14 (44)                  
WEST COAST            4.1      5.4      9.6      11.8 (74)           

Fremantle: Walters 2, Kersten, Suban, Ballantyne
West Coast: Kennedy 3, LeCras 2, Darling 2, Petrie, Priddis, McGovern, Sheed 

Fremantle: Fyfe, Neale, Suban, Blakely, Weller
West Coast: Duggan, Hurn, McGovern, Sheppard, Gaff, Redden 

Fremantle: S.Hill (shoulder)
West Coast: Nil

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Stevic, Hay, Findlay

Official crowd: 38,722