FREMANTLE has held on against a fast-finishing Richmond to post an upset seven-point win on Friday afternoon.
It was heart-in-throat stuff as the Tigers threatened to mow down the visitors' early lead, but Fremantle stood strong to ultimately win 5.7 (37) to 4.6 (30) in the first game of Friday's double-header at Ikon Park.
TIGERS v DOCKERS Full match coverage and stats
Up against it without star duo Kiara Bowers and Ebony Antonio, the spread of impact Dockers coach Lisa Webb enjoyed from her side was impressive. Ten different Dockers registered double-digit disposals for the day, allowing them to find long patches of control against a highly-fancied Tigers.
Fremantle got the fast start – something it hasn't done reliably so far this year – which immediately had the Tigers on the back foot. The Dockers dominated the territory in the opening half, suffocating the home side of opportunities to score.
Emma O'Driscoll (13 disposals, six intercepts) continued her impressive season, pressing high out of defence to compress the ground and aid in her side's territory dominancy, while Sarah Verrier (seven disposals, five tackles) was a crucial link on the wing between the midfield and forward line.
Richmond, meanwhile, struggled to generate the quick, neat corridor run it relies on so heavily to get into attack. The Dockers' work rate and pressure caused fumbling play and repeated turnovers from the Tigers, stunting opportunities for its forwards.
Kate Dempsey’s tireless work on the wing continued with 24 disposals and four tackles, while Gabby Seymour battled admirably in the ruck against Mim Strom, finishing with 17 hitouts and six tackles
Once they found more control at stoppage, winning effective, attacking clearances, the Tigers were able to slam through two quick goals by way of Katie Brennan and Courtney Jones to keep the contest alive going into the final break.
Defender-turned-forward Ange Stannett (18 disposals, six clearances) had a quiet first half in attack for the visitors, before being handed the unenviable role on Richmond star Monique Conti (30 disposals, nine tackles). While not able to completely nullify Conti, who had amassed 12 disposals and five clearances to half time, she was able to get involved in the play to have an attacking impact herself.
Fremantle loves a thriller at Ikon Park
The Dockers have a history of playing out in thrillers when they travel to Ikon Park. Their battle with Carlton in 2021 famously required a three-goal final term to run over the top of the Blues. Last season they fell agonisingly short of the Bulldogs as they pressed the home side late. This season's edition was no different, as they got out to an impressive early lead before Richmond chipped away to get within the final margin of seven points, but the Dockers stood strong to hold on. Fremantle at Ikon, you know you're getting a heartstopper.
For a Fremantle side that has had a stuttering start to the season, getting on the front foot against Richmond was imperative. And get on the front foot it did, kicking three opening quarter goals on its way to its highest half time score since the 2022 (season six) qualifying final against North Melbourne. Aine Tighe's work in the forward half proved difficult for the Tigers defenders to contain without Bec Miller, while Gabby O'Sullivan's return added some dynamism to the Dockers' attack.
Richmond will host an up-and-about Gold Coast side at Ikon Park on Sunday afternoon, while Fremantle will host North Melbourne at their home of Fremantle Oval in the game immediately following the Tigers.
RICHMOND 0.1 1.2 3.3 4.6 (30)
FREMANTLE 3.0 4.5 5.6 5.7 (37)
Richmond: Lynch, Brennan, Jones, Greiser
Fremantle: Tuhakaraina 2, Miller, Tighe, O'Sullivan
Richmond: Dempsey, Conti, Egan, Sheerin, Seymour
Fremantle: O'Driscoll, Tighe, Miller, Strom, Stannett
Richmond: S.Hosking (hamstring)
Fremantle: Roxy Roux replaced Ebony Antonio in the selected side
Crowd: 2,406 at Ikon Park