MOVE over Alan Richardson. You'll have to share football’s hottest seat with Brendon Bolton.

Sitting in the same coach’s box as his St Kilda counterpart did a week ago, the Carlton coach could only watch helplessly as the Blues were kept goalless in the first half at Etihad Stadium on Saturday, trailed Fremantle by 70 points at the long interval and ended up losing by 57 points, 15.13 (103) to 6.10 (46).

The same Fremantle that had yet to win a game outside Western Australia in 2018.

DOCKERS DO IT EASY Full match coverage and stats

Given that factoid and fresh off their bye, the Blues had every reason to feel confident heading into the game on their home deck, but they were absolutely smashed in all the key statistics in the opening half, down by 13 in contested possessions, five in clearances and tackles and 13 in inside 50s.

Carlton’s first-half ineptitude was summed up in the last moments of the first half when a rare clean foray forward ended up with a mark to youngster Patrick Kerr on an angle in the forward pocket. He had Matthew Kreuzer on his own in the goal square, but he instead chose to take the kick himself. He missed, of course, and the Blues fans, their patience tested to the maximum, roundly jeered their team from the ground.

Kerr did play a part in the Blues kicking their first goal, when he passed to Sam Kerridge who marked and kicked truly three minutes into the third term.

The Dockers have averaged just 67 points a game this year, but by half-time had 77. And they were great to watch – quick, attacking and aggressive. Back from suspension, Nat Fyfe was masterful and almost every touch was quality, but Lachie Neale and David Mundy were also outstanding.

But what was also pleasing for the visitors was youngsters Andrew Brayshaw, Stefan Giro and Brennan Cox, who were also impressive. Connor Blakely was also very good. In Cox and Michael Apeness, the Dockers appear to have a key forward combination they can continue to develop.

The Blues showed some fight in the third term, with Kreuzer snaring a couple of goals, Patrick Cripps still prolific but a bit tidier with the football and Kade Simpson courageous backing into space. They kicked three goals to add a modicum of respectability to the scoreline, but Fyfe (30 disposals for the game), Neale (33) and Mundy (20) again took charge midway through the term and the Dockers were back firmly in control.

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Much about the win would have pleased Fremantle coach Ross Lyon. The spread of goalkickers – 12 all up – was a good sign as was the fact that the Dockers jumped out of the gates away from home and really, the game was done at quarter-time.

"We just continued on from how we played against Adelaide. We numbered off really quickly, pressured really well and went forward quickly and scored. That was really pleasing," he said post-game.

"Even the third quarter we had double the amount of entries, their pressure lifted and some of our decision-making wasn't as slick."

At 6-7, Freo cannot entirely be eliminated from finals calculations.

For the Blues (1-11), it was as dispiriting a loss as they have had all season. Bolton might enthuse about the green shoots, but under the closed roof on Saturday, they were nowhere to be seen. It will be a long and uncomfortable week for everyone at Carlton and rightfully so.

"Our response was too slow," Bolton said. "They kicked 12 goals in the first half and the game could have been done then and there. To the players credit, they called on each other and we may have got over the line in the second half. It could have got quite messy so we had a small victory there."

Both teams appeared to come through relatively unscathed.

The Blues meet Collingwood for the second time this year, this time as the ‘away’ team at the MCG on Sunday. The Dockers have their bye and then host Brisbane in 15 days’ time.

CARLTON                              0.4   0.7   3.7   6.10 (46)
FREMANTLE         6.3   12.5   14.10   15.13 (103)

Carlton: Kreuzer 2, Wright 2, Kerridge, Casboult
Fremantle: Neale 3, Fyfe 2, Tucker, Ballantyne, Apeness, Banfield, Cox, Ryan, Sheridan, Matera, Brayshaw, Mundy

Carlton: Cripps, Simpson, Kreuzer, E.Curnow
Fremantle: Neale, Fyfe, Blakely, Mundy, Langdon

Carlton: Nil
Fremantle: Matera (knee)

Reports: Nil