Main content

Match report: Blues break duck to leave winless Dockers in disarray

Highlights: Fremantle v Carlton The Dockers and Blues clash in round five
PERTH, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 24: Hayden Crozier of the Dockers flies for a mark during the 2016 AFL Round 05 match between the Fremantle Dockers and the Carlton Blues at Domain Stadium, Perth on April 24, 2016. (Photo by Daniel Carson/AFL Media)
Hayden Crozier almost takes mark of the year

CARLTON has broken its duck and left Fremantle's season in disarray with a four-point win at Domain Stadium on Sunday.

In a game befitting of 17th and 18th place on the ladder, the Blues made fewer mistakes than the Dockers to win 10.12 (72) to 9.14 (68) and hand Brendon Bolton his first victory as Carlton coach. 

Full match coverage and stats

The Dockers' season has spiralled out of control and to add injury to the insult of a 0-5 start, superstar midfielder Nat Fyfe sat the entire second half on the bench with a lower leg injury

The Brownlow medallist came off the ground during the second term after appearing to cop knock to his lower left leg, the same leg he fractured in last year's preliminary final. 

He headed to the rooms five minutes before half-time and had the lower leg strapped for the start of the second half but came off two minutes into the third term and sat the remainder of the game on the bench with ice strapped to the leg. He was on crutches after the game. 

"We're really concerned in relation to where he's got his plate in his broken leg," Ross Lyon said post-match. 

The Blues' leaders stood tall late in the last quarter when the game was there to be won. 

Marc Murphy kicked a pivotal goal late to go with 28 important disposals, Bryce Gibbs hammered home a dagger from outside 50 and Liam Jones, who went three quarters with just three possessions, kicked two last-quarter goals, including the match-winner after Lachie Neale kicked dangerously across goal with 90 seconds left.

Five talking points: Fremantle v Carlton

Patrick Cripps was outstanding with 30 disposals, including 20 contested, while Kade Simpson hit targets with 16 of his 19 kicks when the two teams collectively kicked at less than 65 per cent efficiency. Dale Thomas kicked three vital goals while Sam Rowe was resolute in defence. 

Bolton said it was pleasing to get reward for effort.

"You always feel a little bit better when you have a 'W' next to your group's name," Bolton said following the win.

"I'm just pleased because we've had a mantra to try to improve in every game and we know, we're under no illusions, it's just one little step, one affirmation that we are improving. 

"I'm happy for the boys that they feel a little better, that their effort is being rewarded."

The Dockers' skills and decision-making were deplorable throughout. Nothing summed up their day better than Matt Taberner robbing teammate Jon Griffin of a goal in the last quarter when he tried to mark a ball on the goal line that was sailing through.

"Quite simply we're playing straight line uncomposed football, high handball, high turnover," Lyon said.

"The consequence of that is we're getting beaten and giving ourselves no chance to win.

"Simpson racked them up because we played straight line kamikaze footy and turned it over in terrible spots. It's pretty simple. But we thought we were better than this."

We are playing horrible football: Lyon

Neale (35 disposals), Stephen Hill (23) and Danyle Pearce (23) were three of the Dockers' four highest possession winners but all operated at less 60 per cent efficiency and had 14 clangers between them.

Michael Walters and Hayden Crozier kicked two goals each but Crozier missed two other opportunities. Brady Grey fought very hard in just his second AFL game with 16 disposals and 10 tackles.        

The Dockers also have some other injury concerns on top of Fyfe's issue. Hayden Ballantyne (right thigh), Michael Johnson (right knee) and Neale (right leg) all battled late in the game.    

Fremantle: Nat Fyfe's lower leg injury is a huge concern.Hayden Ballantyne copped a heavy knock to the back of his left hamstring in the opening term. He came back and copped another knock above his right knee and really struggled to move freely thereafter. Lee Spurr suffered a cut above his right eye and Lachie Neale had a right calf problem. Michael Johnson picked up a right knee problem in the last quarter. 

Carlton: Ciaran Byrne copped a heavy knock to the head in the last quarter and came off under the blood rule. 


The Dockers face a huge test next Saturday afternoon when they travel to Adelaide Oval to meet the Crows. The Blues have a big clash with arch-rivals Essendon at the MCG on Sunday afternoon. 

FREMANTLE    2.5   4.8   6.12   9.14   (68)                  
CARLTON         2.5   4.9   6.10  10.12  (72)           

Fremantle: Walters 2, Crozier 2, Sutcliffe, Fyfe, Taberner, Griffin, Mayne
Carlton: Thomas 3, Jones 2, Wright, Lamb, C. Curnow, Murphy, Gibbs 

Fremantle: Neale, Hill, Walters, Spurr, Grey
Carlton: Cripps, Kerridge, Murphy, Simpson, E Curnow, Thomas 

Fremantle: Fyfe (left leg), Johnson (right knee), Ballantyne (right thigh)
Carlton: TBA

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Farmer, Hay, Wallace

Official crowd: 34,796 at the Domain Stadium