Luke Jackson leaves the field after Fremantle's win over North Melbourne in round two, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

FREMANTLE coach Justin Longmuir has hailed his side's growing maturity after star ruckman Luke Jackson sparked a dramatic turnaround in the Dockers' comeback win over North Melbourne.

Jackson was best-afield, kicking two goals from 24 disposals and seven clearances in a vital contribution as the Dockers reversed a 32-point deficit midway through the second term to claim a 26-point win.

KANGAROOS v DOCKERS Full match coverage and stats

While the Dockers took a stranglehold on the contest after half-time, it was a different story in the early stages when almost everything went the Kangaroos' way.

"We just got annihilated in the contest in the first half, and to (North's) credit they were really impressive," Longmuir said.

"They played with a far greater intensity than us, which was disappointing ... we had no answer to them.

"I was pleased with the way the players kept their heads because I felt like, on reflection, that might've been a game we lost last year.

"It's a sign of maturity, learning from our lessons of last year and the amount of work we've done on scenarios and that type of thing over the pre-season.

"Communication, connection, leadership and our mental game to be able to put bad moments or quarters or halves behind us - all of those things were positive."


Former captain Nat Fyfe had a heavy influence in the opening three quarters with 19 disposals and one goal, but was substituted out of the game at three-quarter time.

Longmuir said the decision to remove Fyfe from the game was to "save his legs".

"We're on a six-day break and he had a bit of a tight back that he was managing in-game," Longmuir said.

"As soon as I saw him getting work on it at three-quarter time I asked him the question and he was open to it (being substituted).

"We had a midfielder on the bench in Jaeger (O'Meara), so it seemed like a really obvious swap."


North Melbourne coach Alastair Clarkson lamented North's inability to put the game to bed when they were on top in the first half.

"There was enough evidence there that we can play an exciting brand of footy and restrict a pretty good opposition," Clarkson said.

"We saw really strong evidence of that in the first half.

"It was eight goals to three and we had three (set) shots at goal in a two-minute period that might've nearly been enough to really force Fremantle to change."

Meanwhile a controversial decision late in North Melbourne's sparked a call from Clarkson for greater use of video review technology.

With the Dockers up by 19 points with eight minutes left to play, Fremantle midfielder Matthew Johnson's pass backwards in defence floated over teammate James Aish and hit the behind post.

The goal umpire signalled out of bounds on the full, which would have given the Kangaroos a free kick in a scoring position, but was overruled by the nearest field umpire, who deemed Aish had got a hand to the ball.


The boundary umpire was not close enough to make a clear call but was also involved in a three-way discussion between the officials before they decided on a throw-in.

The incident was not reviewed because there was no score - or potential score - involved in the passage of play, and Clarkson felt the uncertainty could have been solved by a video review.

"Any time there's uncertainty by a goal umpire or a field umpire - whether it's out or in or touched or whatever - I would've said any time there's uncertainty on that, let's just use the score review," Clarkson said.

"I'm not sure why they didn't, but anyway, it doesn't really matter. It wasn't the issue in the game.

"We know where we did well in the game and we know where we need to pull our socks up."