Jye Amiss celebrates after scoring a goal during the match between Fremantle and Adelaide at Optus Stadium in round three, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

FREMANTLE has continued its undefeated start to the season, beating Adelaide by 35 points at Optus Stadium in a Good Friday scrap, leaving the Crows winless as they prepare to launch Gather Round in six days.

In a low-scoring game full of skill errors and missed opportunities, it was the Dockers who composed themselves when the game was on the line, winning 9.15 (69) to 4.10 (34) and celebrating their best start to a season since 2015.

DOCKERS v CROWS Full match coerage and stats

Only 10 points separated the teams at three-quarter time after neither could capitalise on their chances in the third term, but the Dockers were ruthless in the run home, kicking four unanswered goals as a bumper crowd of 51,037 made Good Friday football in Perth a success.


Bailey Banfield, Josh Treacy, Matt Taberner and Michael Frederick all kept their cool when chances presented and slotted goals, while a brilliant, in-form backline kept the Crows at bay during their forays forward.

Captain Alex Pearce and sidekick Luke Ryan continued excellent starts to the season, keeping Taylor Walker and Darcy Fogarty to a combined 0.3 while also setting up the Dockers' attack with their intercepting ability.


Speedster Jordan Clark (26 and seven marks) put his pressure game and composure with the ball to good use, while midfielder Hayden Young (32 and eight clearances) built strongly into the game to become the main architect of the Dockers' ball movement through the middle with his piercing kicking skills and strong body.

Michael Walters was electric early and could have kicked a big bag if not for inaccuracy, finishing with 2.4 from 21 disposals, with Taberner and Jye Amiss adding two each as the game's only other multiple goalkickers.


Adelaide is now 0-3 for the first time since coach Matthew Nicks' first season in 2020 and launches Gather Round against Melbourne next Thursday night in a crunch game for the club.

They are also at risk of going into that clash without defender Wayne Milera and substitute Lachlan Murphy, who each suffered knee injuries that will require scans. Milera's looked particularly concerning after he was helped from the ground by trainers after landing awkwardly in a marking contest.


The Crows brought pressure and intensity to the contest, but their ability to link up from the midfield with their forward line was well off again, resulting in their lowest score since round 17, 2021.

With neither Fremantle or Adelaide able to win an opening quarter so far this season and determined to reverse that trend, the pressure was on from the opening bounce as players attacked the contested ball and laid strong tackles.

Clark's chasedown of Ned McHenry was a highlight in his 50th game for the Dockers, while the Crows forced their opponents into skill errors with their own pressure.

Both teams looked their best when they could move quickly and kick through the congestion, with Ben Keays kicking the opener after Walker and Josh Rachele pierced through the Dockers with quick transition on the way to a three-point lead at the first break.


The Dockers dominated a second quarter that was full of feeling, if not getting full reward on the scoreboard. They controlled field position with 16 inside 50s to seven, and were the better team in the contest.

They kicked four behinds in a row, however, before Walters snapped accurately to give the Dockers their first lead of the day. When Young split through a stoppage on the wing and kicked long, Amiss converted off the ground to give Freo an eight-point lead at the main break.


Only two goals were kicked in a scrappy third term, with the game still on the line early in the fourth when the Dockers stepped up and delivered, banking their second straight win off a six-day break to set up a Gather Round blockbuster with 3-0 Carlton next Saturday.


Clark trade paying off for Freo
During a period in which the focus has been on the players Fremantle has lost, the club's pick-up of Jordan Clark at the end of 2021 is one worth noting. Clark played his 50th game for the Dockers on Friday night and was terrific, continuing a strong third season for the club. The 23-year-old finished with 26 disposals and seven marks, with his clean hands, speed and composure under pressure valuable. It was his chase-down tackle on Ned McHenry in the first quarter, however, that the Dockers will highlight. The price of pick No.22 and a swap of later picks with the Cats was one well worth paying.

Luke Ryan and Jordan Clark after Fremantle's win over Adelaide at Optus Stadium in round three, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

Crows forwards in a rut
The Crows were the highest scoring team of 2023, but on Friday night their firepower was neutralised. It's been a concerning element of the team's 0-3 start, and there are connection issues between the midfield and forward line that clearly impact the ability of Taylor Walker and Darcy Fogarty to hit the scoreboard. But combining for just 0.3 is a major concern. The key duo fell victim to the in-form pairing of Alex Pearce and Luke Ryan, who were stars, but half-forwards Josh Rachele and Izak Rankine were also unable to fire in a game that Freo forced into an armwrestle. 

Dockers trademark emerging 
A full-length smother from Sam Switkowski in round one has set the tone for a high-pressure game style that is playing a significant role in the Dockers' 3-0 start to the season. Tom Emmett has followed up with similar efforts, and on Friday night there were desperate chasedown tackles and pressure acts galore as the Dockers become a team intent on doing the little things for each other. While less involved offensively than he has been in the opening two rounds, Caleb Serong led the way with 26 pressure acts, with the tackle count of 62-43 at the end of the game telling a significant story.

Caleb Serong tackles Jake Soligo during the match between Fremantle and Adelaide at Optus Stadium in round three, 2024. Picture: Getty Images


FREMANTLE        2.2     4.7     5.12    9.15 (69)  
ADELAIDE           2.5     3.5     4.8     4.10 (34)  

Fremantle: Taberner 2, Walters 2, Amiss 2, Banfield, Frederick, Treacy
Adelaide: Burgess, Keays, McHenry, Sholl

Fremantle: Young, Pearce, Ryan, Clark, Fyfe, Walters
Adelaide: Crouch, Keane, Soligo, Laird, Dawson 

Fremantle: Nil
Adelaide: Milera (knee), Murphy (knee)

Fremantle: Jaeger O'Meara (replaced Tom Emmett at three-quarter time)
Lachlan Murphy (replaced Luke Pedler in the third quarter)

Crowd: 51,037 at Optus Stadium