FREMANTLE flicked the switch with its skills and kickstarted its season in impressive fashion, slicing through a disappointing Greater Western Sydney to win by 31 points at Optus Stadium on Sunday.
The Dockers delivered on the promise they showed through the pre-season and banished the Giants to their first 0-2 start to a season since 2013, winning 11.21 (87) to 7.14 (56).
The win could come at a cost for the injury-hit club, however, with captain Nat Fyfe (suspected concussion) sidelined late in the third quarter after a high bump from Giant Sam Reid.
DOCKERS V GIANTS Full match coverage and stats
An unsuspecting Fyfe was collected by Reid, who will come under scrutiny from the Match Review Officer, while the dual Brownlow medallist will likely be sidelined for the Dockers' round three match against Carlton given the AFL's concussion protocols.
Fyfe, who becomes the first player to be replaced by a medical substitute because of concussion, didn’t emerge after heading to the Dockers' rooms at the end of a blistering third term that saw his team build a 40-point lead with four unanswered goals.
Veteran David Mundy (35 disposals and six clearances) was brilliant for Freo, who found an attacking edge and moved the ball with purpose and precision through the middle of the ground.
The ease with which they controlled possession – both at the coalface and on the outside – should set off alarm bells for the blunt Giants, whose big names were unable to arrest momentum at any stage.
Fremantle won the clearances (29-21) and inside 50s (58-42), dominating contested ball (145-113) in a smacking that wasn't fully reflected on the scoreboard after late GWS goals and missed Fremantle opportunities.
The form of the Dockers' midfielders is cause for optimism and gave Justin Longmuir the ability to use Fyfe forward for the entire three quarters he played, with the captain kicking 1.2 and taking seven marks.
Longmuir had faith his team could flick the switch and clean up its skills on Sunday, and the players didn't let him down early, opening up a 19-point lead at the first break on the back of attacking ball movement.
Ruckman Sean Darcy provided a highlight in his return match, flicking a delightful hit-out over his shoulder to the impressive Sam Switkowski in the forward pocket to set up the Dockers' fourth straight goal.
It was a physical opening, with Giant Lachie Keeffe and Dockers Lloyd Meek and Caleb Serong all leaving the field with cut heads at different stages in the first half.
But the Giants' physical edge dissipated as the Dockers gained control and ran their opponents off their feet.
Brayshaw hits the scoreboard
The next step in Andrew Brayshaw's development was to become a goalkicking midfielder. On Sunday he booted two goals and showed he will become an attacking threat in time. The 21-year-old was brilliant in the midfield with 32 possessions, and he provided a magnificent highlight when he sidestepped two Giants and snapped on his right foot from 35m. He was only shaded by Mundy as best afield.
Inaccuracy costs both teams
Fremantle's field kicking was on target, but the team's 21 behinds highlighted the missed opportunities that at times left the door ajar for GWS. Luckily for the Dockers, the Giants were equally poor in front of goal, they just didn't create as many opportunities. Late goals left the Giants with a flattering 31-point margin after the Dockers broke 47-points free late in the third term.
Midfield muscle goes missing
Greater Western Sydney won the contested ball by 30 in round one and lost it by 30 against the Dockers. That swing of 60 was highlighted post-match by Leon Cameron as a priority to fix. Forward Toby Greene was the only Giant with more than eight contested possessions, while Mundy, Brayshaw, Serong and Cerra had 45 between them. Tim Taranto (seven), Stephen Coniglio (seven), Josh Kelly (four), Jacob Hopper (eight) and Callan Ward (two) needed to do more at the coalface.
FREMANTLE 4.6 5.12 9.16 11.21 (87)
GWS GIANTS 1.5 1.9 3.12 7.14 (56)
Fremantle: Schultz 3, Brayshaw 2, Switkowski 2, Taberner 2, Fyfe, Frederick
GWS Giants: Himmelberg 2, Greene 2, Sproule 2, Hopper
Fremantle: Mundy, Brayshaw, Cerra, Schultz, Switkowski, Meek, Darcy, Hughes
GWS Giants: Greene, Himmelberg, Perryman, Hill, Cumming
Fremantle: Fyfe (concussion)
GWS Giants: Nil
Fremantle: Connor Blakely (replaced Nat Fyfe)
GWS Giants: Nick Shipley (unused)
Crowd: 27,625 at Optus Stadium