BRISBANE has feasted on an injury-ravaged Fremantle, kicking away to a 55-point win at Optus Stadium as the Dockers nursed injuries to captain Nat Fyfe and ruckman Aaron Sandilands.
The Lions controlled the game from the start and answered every challenge from the Dockers, winning their second match for the season and their first in Perth since 2010, 18.11 (119) to 9.10 (64).
LIONS' BIG WIN Full match coverage and stats
If the result didn't end Fremantle's slim finals hopes, then injuries to the team's two most important players did ahead of clashes against Melbourne (TIO Stadium), Port Adelaide (Optus Stadium), Essendon (Etihad Stadium) and Hawthorn (Optus Stadium).
The Dockers (6-8) look set to be without superstar midfielder Fyfe for several weeks after a hamstring injury early in the second quarter, while Sandilands was withdrawn moments before the opening bounce with a right calf injury.
It was the Lions' day, however, with Chris Fagan's young team notching their first win on the road since round 15 last season and winning every quarter for the first time in Fagan’s coaching career.
Ruckman Stefan Martin was the star in his 150th game, taking advantage of Sandilands' absence to control the stoppages with 46 hit-outs and seven clearances, giving his midfielders first use.
Former skipper Dayne Beams was also excellent, with a game-high 12 clearances and 33 possessions, lifting in the second half to ensure the Dockers weren't able to mount a challenge from the midfield.
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Second-year midfielder Jarrod Berry (24 possessions, six clearances and seven inside 50s) was thrown a run-with job on Fyfe and had the better of the duel before injury struck the Brownlow medallist, then moving onto Lachie Neale.
There were reasons for Fagan to smile all over the ground, with Daniel McStay and Lewy Taylor kicking three goals each, and No.1 draft pick Cam Rayner booting two in a lively display.
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"Our young players really stood up today and they'll get a lot from that," Fagan said.
"They've worked so hard. They're a really good group to coach they never give up.
"Winning is the ultimate reinforcement for all the things you're trying to do.
"I'll be honest. I was starting to worry that at some point in time they weren't going to get the reward they deserved."
Too much was left to too few for the Dockers, particularly after Fyfe's injury with Neale (31 and nine clearances) fighting hard and Michael Walters (26 and five inside 50s) doing his best to create run in a stagnant line-up.
By the final siren, however, six Dockers had touched the ball fewer than 10 times, compared to just one Lion, with Fremantle the latest team to return sluggishly from a bye.
"No Sandilands, no Fyfe, no hope – we've heard that for a long time, haven't we?" coach Ross Lyon said post-match.
"At times we get it done (but) we didn't quite get it done today … we've got to give Brisbane a lot of credit."
The last-minute withdrawal of Sandilands had Fremantle on the back foot from the opening bounce, with the Lions getting the jump in their first match at Optus Stadium.
With tall forward Michael Apeness seconded into the No.1 ruck role for the Dockers, the Lions controlled the early stoppages and had the first eight inside 50s of the match, building a 17-point lead to win their first opening quarter of the season.
It got worse for the Dockers minutes into the second term when Fyfe injured his right hamstring while collecting a groundball and handballing, heading straight to the bench and applying ice to the leg.
The Lions seized on their opponents' vulnerability, winning the contested ball battle (73-59 in the first half) and generally using the ball better than their ravaged opponents.
Despite an excellent tagging job from Bailey Banfield on Lions skipper Dayne Zorko (nine first-half possessions), the Lions continued to find avenues to goal and built a 24-point lead at the main break.
The response never came from the Dockers, who lost all structure in the third quarter and allowed the Lions to move the ball as they pleased in the second half as their finals hopes all but slipped away.
Fremantle: Fyfe immediately felt for his hamstring after bending down to win a groundball and shooting out a handball early in the second quarter. He walked to the boundary with a trainer and had ice applied high on his hamstring. The Dockers confirmed ruckman Aaron Sandilands had injured his right calf in the warm-up, forcing his withdrawal just minutes before the bounce.
Brisbane: Nick Robertson left the ground briefly to have treatment to a knee but was able to return, while Mitch Robinson played out the game after being crunched in a marking contest.
The Dockers travel to Darwin to take on Melbourne next Saturday night in what will be midfielder Stephen Hill's 200th game. The Lions take on Carlton at the Gabba on Saturday, giving them a chance to break two games – and percentage – clear of the 18th-placed Blues.
FREMANTLE 1.4 3.6 6.9 9.10 (64)
BRISBANE 4.3 7.6 13.8 18.11 (119)
Fremantle: Cox 2, Ballantyne 2, Langdon, Apeness, Kersten, Giro, Mundy
Brisbane: Taylor 3, McStay 3, Cutler 2, Rayner 2, McInerney 2, Hipwood 2, Berry, Witherden, Zorko, Christensen
Fremantle: Neale, Langdon, Walters, Mundy
Brisbane: Martin, Beams, Berry, Taylor, McStay, Cutler, Rayner
Fremantle: Sandilands (calf) replaced in selected side by Nyhuis, Fyfe (hamstring)
Umpires: Foot, Dalgleish, Brown
Official crowd: 41,674 at Optus Stadium.