FREMANTLE coach Justin Longmuir has expressed frustration with his team's ball movement against Brisbane in the first half of a game in which it lost small forward Michael Frederick to a syndesmosis injury.
The Dockers worked hard and got plenty of ball, notching three more inside 50s than the Lions, but were untidy at times and struggled to challenge Brisbane's defence.
After struggling in defence during last round's disappointing loss to crosstown rivals West Coast, it was ball use that let Fremantle down this time round, especially in the crucial early stages.
"The message at half-time was to keep going for your kicks, don't be safe and back yourself in," Longmuir said.
"I felt like we flipped it on its head a little bit in the third quarter and it came through in the last, just changed angles a little and gave our forwards a bit more room to move.
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"It didn't always look perfect, but I'd rather us play that way than the first half.
"I felt like we were in the game but gave ourselves too much work to do.
"The last two weeks we've just gifted the opposition too many easy goals.
"We haven't measured up against the best teams and play consistently enough against the better teams and that's our challenge."
Frederick looks like being out for an extended period of time after Longmuir confirmed the dreaded high ankle injury suffered in the opening quarter.
Brisbane continued its form surge against Fremantle on Sunday, but coach Chris Fagan said there was still plenty to work on after a "loose" finish to the game.
The Lions have quietly won four straight matches – the second longest streak in the AFL – to move into fifth place ahead of Saturday's QClash against Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium.
Fagan was generally pleased with the "workmanlike" 24-point win over the Dockers, but said watching a game-high 47-point buffer disappear was concerning.
"We probably leave a tad disappointed that when you get seven goals up early in the last quarter, that we couldn’t actually finish it off," Fagan said.
"I'd like to see the vision to see what actually happened.
"It wasn't all that pleasing that the ball went from one end of the ground to the other on several occasions.
"I'd like to think we could defend better than that, and by and large for most of the night we did, but there was a period of time at the end that everything just got a little bit loose."
Fremantle took 18 marks inside its forward 50 – most in the second half – to raise the coach's eyebrows.
Fagan is, however, delighted with the form reversal over the past month after his team dipped to a 1-3 record.
"It’s been a good recovery," he said.
"Psychologically it's tough when you are 1-3 and people are sort of predicting doom and gloom for your season.
"The fact we've been able to gather ourselves and win our last four is a credit to the group and their professionalism.
"They had their A-Grade midfield out there tonight Freo, and we were able to win contested possession and clearance, and that's a good tick for our group."