AN ANGRY Fremantle found its fire and squared its season 2-2, shaking off a persistent Hawthorn to win by 15 points at Optus Stadium on Sunday.
Called out by coach Justin Longmuir for hanging some teammates out to dry in round three, the Dockers upped the ante against the Hawks and got physical on their way to a 13.18 (96) to 12.9 (81) win.
In a fiery clash, the Dockers benefited from the return of their champion midfielder Nat Fyfe, who led the physical charge in the midfield and was superb with 31 possessions.
The skipper's radar was well off in attack, however, kicking 0.6 as the Dockers' inaccuracy in front of goal continued, leaving the door ajar for the Hawks throughout an entertaining clash.
DOCKERS v HAWKS Full match coverage and stats
The result continued an up-and-down start to the season for the Dockers, who are undefeated at home but have disappointed away. It left the brave Hawks at 1-3, competing hard but failing to secure the result for the second week running.
As well as Fyfe, Mundy was excellent for the home team, continuing a brilliant first month with 25 disposals, seven clearances and nine inside 50s.
The experienced pair led the midfield through a dominant final term in which the Dockers won the clearances (16-5), contested ball (41-33) and inside 50s (17-10) to snuff out any challenge from the Hawks.
Ruckman Sean Darcy showed plenty of forward craft with three goals, while defender Reece Conca held Luke Breust goalless. First-year defender Heath Chapman was composed with the ball and had 18 disposals.
Brownlow medallist Tom Mitchell fought hard for the Hawks with 37 possessions, while James Worpel's tagging job on Andrew Brayshaw was influential through the first three quarters.
Brayshaw fought back in the final term to finish with 15 possessions after being held to three in the first half, with his teammates continually coming to his aid off the ball.
Fyfe was thrown straight into the midfield at the opening bounce in his return and won the first centre clearance, controlling the game early as the Dockers kicked the opening five goals.
Scratchy with the ball in the first quarter, the Hawks found their composure after quarter-time and went on a five-goal-to-one run as Tom Mitchell had 18 possessions for the term.
When Mitchell ran into an open goalsquare late in the quarter, the margin was cut to 14 points and the Hawks looked to have found the formula to overrun the Dockers at home.
An armwrestle ensued in the second half, and ultimately it was the Dockers' midfielders' ability to get on top that decided the match.
Wayward Fyfe fires in the midfield
After his midfield was beaten convincingly against Carlton, Justin Longmuir sent captain Nat Fyfe into the first centre bounce and left him there for much of the first half. The Dockers didn't compete at a centre bounce without either their dual Brownlow medallist or veteran star David Mundy in attendance during the first half, and it paid off over four quarters, winning the clearances 37-30. The Dockers' young midfielders have shown plenty of promise, but keeping the veteran pair in the middle alongside them is the winning formula right now.
Hawks slow out of the gates again
Hawthorn has kicked a combined 6.5 in first quarters this season to its opponents' 14.17. It is the reason they have a 1-3 record after the opening month, despite lengthy periods on top within games and the slow start proved too much for them to overcome on Sunday. Alastair Clarkson's men went goalless in the opening term, while Fremantle piled on 5.6, which could easily have been 7.4 if Fyfe took his chances. Darcy, Michael Walters and Josh Treacy also missed shots, with the Hawks let off the hook in another poor opening. They lost the inside 50s 6-19 and starting well against Melbourne next Sunday will be critical.
Worpel puts the clamp on Brayshaw
Out of form in the opening three rounds, Hawthorn club champion James Worpel was given a defensive role on Andrew Brayshaw and he executed it superbly. What also happened offensively would have pleased the Hawks, however, with the midfielder winning a season-high 22 disposals himself. Worpel has struggled to find his role in a midfield that boasts Tom Mitchell and Jaeger O'Meara in top form. He's more than a run-with midfielder, but maybe a string of defensive roles is the way to get the 22-year-old back into his best-and-fairest-winning form.
FREMANTLE 5.6 6.11 10.12 13.18 (96)
HAWTHORN 0.2 5.4 8.8 12.9 (81)
Fremantle: Darcy 3, Taberner 2, Colyer 2, Mundy, Chapman, Acres, Walters, Frederick, Sturt
Hawthorn: Moore 3, Wingard, Hartley, Morrison, Phillips, Howe, Lewis, Brockman, O'Brien, Mitchell
Fremantle: Fyfe, Mundy, Darcy, Conca, Cerra, Serong, Chapman
Hawthorn: Mitchell, Jiath, Worpel, O'Meara, Wingard, Moore
Hawthorn: Howe (shoulder)
Fremantle: Stefan Giro (unused)
Hawthorn: Shaun Burgoyne (unused)
Crowd: 29,490 at Optus Stadium