Matt Taberner celebrates a goal during the round five match between Port Adelaide and Fremantle at Adelaide Oval, April 13, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

FREMANTLE coach Justin Longmuir says his belief in the Dockers has only grown stronger in back-to-back defeats against Carlton and Port Adelaide, with the team ending a two-game road trip winless but emboldened by its performances.

The Dockers were again excellent defensively and in the contest against the Power on Saturday night, but clutch goals to Charlie Dixon and Jason Horne-Francis in the final minutes condemned them to a heartbreaking three-point loss.

Seven days on from the controversial 10-point loss to Carlton at Adelaide Oval, Longmuir said the 3-2 Dockers would head home with mixed emotions but belief in their methods after pushing both the Power and Blues to their limits.

POWER v DOCKERS Full match coverage and stats

"To go home from Adelaide being in front in both games with three or four minutes to go, it's flattening," Longmuir said on Saturday night.


"But I think our belief should have built in the last two weeks. We played two really good sides and mixed it with them really well and pushed them all the way.

"The result is done in both games and we just need to make sure we keep learning from it. The back end of both games we've lost too many critical moments … but my belief is a lot stronger."


Longmuir was clear that the Dockers needed to improve their scoring and take better advantage of their periods of ascendency, having controlled long stretches of Saturday night's clash.

They held both the Blues (73) and Power (69) to their lowest scores of the season, but never built a big lead within either game that they could protect.


"We're really clear on where we need to improve … we need more bang for buck," the coach said.

"We need to be able to take the moments when they present in the front half, and clearly we need to score more.

"There's moments out there we'd love back and we'd like to be able to convert better than what we did tonight.

"That's as simple as it needs to be, because I think our contest work, our groundball, the way we’re defending the ground and setting the ground up is really strong."


For Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley, it was a matter of finding a different way to win when the Dockers hit them with a disciplined defensive game and a well-drilled midfield that won clearances 41-30.

"That's what you need to do sometimes. Sometimes you can play well and not get the points, and sometimes you can be outplayed around the ball and find a way to get the points," he said.

"You've just got to find a way sometimes, and to our boys' credit they actually found a way in the last quarter. It was a great challenge for them.


"They caused us some grief around the ball and we had to win it differently. I think that shows a fair bit of maturity too, that you actually have to win it differently and you can't get it on your terms.

"At the end you add [the wins] up. You don't add them up by whether they were pretty or ugly, you add them up and at the end of the year you just have to keep adding them up.

"We probably feel somewhat like we're level with the ledger on performance at the moment."

Hinkley said the Power had practiced how to manage close finishes during the week, knowing that a tight game was likely against the Dockers.


There were some nervous moments for the coach, but ultimately the team held firm after Dixon and Horne-Francis delivered in big moments.

"One of my players always says that games are about moments and tonight that was so accurate, and for individuals it was about moments," Hinkley said.

"You didn't have every moment in the game perfect for you, but when we needed you a couple of individuals had big, big moments.

"We'll sit back and remember the Dixon mark, and the Horne-Francis mark and goal, and (Zak) Butters' last quarter. Some of the boys behind the ball, like Lachie Jones, had some big moments when we needed him."