AN EMERGING Fremantle has laid a significant marker with a comeback one-point win over Adelaide, according to coach Justin Longmuir.
The Dockers appeared gone when 19 points down 12 minutes into the last quarter of Sunday's Adelaide Oval fixture.
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But Fremantle surged with the last three goals of the game for a stirring 11.17 (83) to 12.10 (82) triumph.
"I said to the players after the game, round one is about setting a foundation of your footy to build off for the rest of the year," Longmuir said.
"It just showed a lot of heart and a lot of fight in us. It's definitely something we can build off and take forward."
Adelaide's hyped draftee Josh Rachele kicked five goals on debut as the Crows came from 26 points down late in the second term to seemingly be headed for a win.
But the Dockers kicked the next two goals and, with five minutes left, were just six points down.
After Adelaide rushed a point, an errant pass in defence from Crow Riley Thilthorpe ended with Fremantle's Lachie Schultz (three goals), who converted on the run as the Dockers stole a one-point break.
Then, late drama.
With 10 seconds left, Adelaide's Ben Keays launched a left-footer and the ball was headed for a goal, but Fremantle's seven-gamer Heath Chapman got a desperate fist to the footy to prevent any score.
Longmuir told Chapman in the changerooms: "It was the best spoil I have seen."
"That's probably taking it a little bit too far, but it was really important," Longmuir said.
"It was a great effort from a young player to be head in the game and be able to execute."
Fremantle blitzed Adelaide early to lead 8.9 to 5.2 at half-time, with ex-Geelong utility Jordan Clark, Andrew Brayshaw and Caleb Serong having 17 inside 50s between them - one less than Adelaide's entire team.
But the Crows then booted six goals to none in the third term, including the impressive Rachele's fourth which gave the Crows the lead for the first time.
Adelaide held a 10-point buffer at three-quarter time, then extended their lead to 19 points midway through the final term after another Rachele goal.
But they couldn't hang on, leaving Crows players "gutted", according to coach Matthew Nicks.
"I hate losing and I feel for the group and I have probably given them a little bit too much of a spray," Nicks said.
"But then I give them the love again ... I know they have got ticker, but I get so frustrated for them."