THERE'S one-way traffic and then there's what Fremantle did to North Melbourne on Saturday.
The Dockers' highest score under Justin Longmuir was the Roos' biggest total conceded for 2020 and ruined ruckman Todd Goldstein's 250th AFL game celebrations.
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The Roos' lack of pressure was their biggest concern, managing just 35 tackles as the Dockers delivered a 15.9 (99) to 5.5 (35) procession at Metricon Stadium.
Longmuir's side amassed a whopping 72 more uncontested disposals and 46 more marks as their possession-style game exposed the Roos' ability to cover the ground defensively.
Worryingly, the Roos conceded six more clearances in an area of the ground they've relied on this year. They now have just one win from their past 14 matches.
The Dockers' forwards, including Nat Fyfe for bursts, got on top early and caused serious headaches for the Roos' key defenders.
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Jesse Hogan finished with four goals in his best effort as a Docker, Lachie Schultz and Matt Taberner each booted three, and Michael Walters chipped in with three of his own after getting off a Luke McDonald leash late.
Cameron Zurhaar (two goals) and Nick Larkey (one) looked the only likely options in attack for the Roos, while Taylor Garner hit the scoreboard at the start of the final term in his first match for 386 days.
Veteran David Mundy (24 disposals) showed his class was worthy of a one-year extension, while Shaun Higgins (19 disposals) was one of few midfielders to break even for the Roos.
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Can the Dockers' three-pronged attack work in 2021?
On Saturday's evidence, it's a resounding yes. Rory Lobb collected seven marks roaming across half-forward, allowing Matt Taberner and Jesse Hogan to combine for seven goals in the forward 50 alongside Nat Fyfe for large parts. Taberner now sits third in the race for the Coleman Medal with 29 majors for the year, while Lobb showcased his new set shot routine off a couple of steps to great success, shelving his previous stutter approach. The trio's efforts made for a tough day for Robbie Tarrant, Ben McKay and Ed Vickers-Willis.
Which turn does Rhyce Shaw take next?
In a year that offered so much promise at 2-1, the Roos tasted victory in just one of their next 14 games – against North's wooden-spoon rival Adelaide. And in five days, 2020 will end after a clash with West Coast. Shaw has tried dumping his high-priced midfielders to no effect, and on Saturday, with Aaron Hall and Jared Polec in the side, the Roos delivered their worst defensive effort of the season. Hall and Polec were among a group of 12 players that recorded one or no tackles. After trying different avenues to get a response out of his side, Shaw will be at a loss approaching next week's exit interviews.
Dockers recruits paying their way
James Aish (23 disposals) and Blake Acres (24 disposals) both arrived at the Dockers on three-year contracts at the end of last season and both were among the Dockers' best against the Roos. Playing across wing and half-back, the pair were allowed to run riot and would've given the Dockers' hierarchy plenty to smile about on their upside around their young midfield teammates going into 2021.
NORTH MELBOURNE 1.0 2.2 3.4 5.5 (35)
FREMANTLE 3.3 7.4 11.6 15.9 (99)
North Melbourne: Zurhaar 2, Larkey, Garner, Hall
Fremantle: Hogan 4, Schultz 3, Taberner 3, Walters 3, Lobb, Darcy
North Melbourne: Higgins, McDonald, Zurhaar, Simpkin, Dumont
Fremantle: Mundy, Fyfe, Acres, Darcy, Schultz, Hogan, Lobb
North Melbourne: Nil