FREMANTLE has responded after last weekend's shock home loss with a second straight Western Derby victory over a depleted West Coast at Optus Stadium on Sunday night.
The Dockers, who coach Justin Longmuir labelled as "horrific" in their 10-point round two loss to St Kilda, had far more polish to win 15.12 (102) to 7.5 (47) over the Eagles, who had been forced into 12 changes.
Longmuir missed Sunday's win due to health and safety protocols, leaving assistant Jaymie Graham to steer the side.
EAGLES v DOCKERS Full match coverage and stats
Fremantle kicked six successive goals after West Coast spearhead Josh Kennedy, on return from his own health and safety protocols absence, booted the first of the match, the Dockers opening up a 34-point half-time lead before fending off the Eagles’ best efforts in the second half to pull away to the 55-point win.
West Coast toiled hard but was blunt moving forward, with its final score proving the Eagles' lowest ever in a Derby, one point shy of the 6.12 (48) scoreline from 2012.
Lachie Schultz won the Glendinning-Allan Medal for best afield with 23 possessions, two goals and three goal assists for Fremantle.
In-form Andrew Brayshaw shook off an early tag to have a team-high 26 disposals, Matt Taberner led the way up front with three goals on his return from a hamstring injury, with Michael Frederick, Schultz and Rory Lobb all kicking two, while Kennedy finished with two for the Eagles.
Jeremy McGovern was exceptional for West Coast with 21 possessions and 11 marks including a spectacular second-quarter grab. He was supported well by former skipper Shannon Hurn with a game-high 27 disposals as they repelled Fremantle attacks.
The Dockers only marginally won the first-half inside 50s 26-22, reinforcing the Eagles’ forward struggles, going scoreless in the second term.
West Coast burst out of the blocks after half-time with goals from Jack Petruccelle and Nic Naitanui within 30 seconds of play recommencing, but couldn’t sustain it.
The Eagles' momentum was halted by a lengthy delay after a scary concussion to Dockers utility Darcy Tucker who was stretchered off.
Fremantle kicked the next three majors to re-establish a healthy margin, before adding six fourth-quarter goals to run out comfortable winners.
Ball magnet Brayshaw overcomes slow start
In the absence of prime Freo onballers Nat Fyfe and David Mundy last weekend, Brayshaw had accumulated 40 possessions against St Kilda, so West Coast sent Jackson Nelson to tag the 2017 National Draft second pick. Brayshaw was held to only one kick and one handball in the first quarter but worked his way into the game, playing a key role with 10 third-quarter disposals once West Coast deactivated the Nelson tag. The victory was Brayshaw's first Derby win.
Darling improves but fades
Jack Darling has attracted a lot of attention this year after his drawn-out vaccination saga, before belatedly coming into the side in round two where he appeared underdone and only managed six disposals and two marks. But the 2019 All-Australian forward made his presence felt early against the Dockers with some strong contests in the first term, grabbing six touches by quarter-time and earning cheers from the home crowd. Darling faded and dropped a crucial mark early in the third when the Eagles were coming, but finished with 12 touches, four marks and one goal.
Derby domination flipped
West Coast dominated its younger crosstown rival for half a decade with 11 consecutive wins – the longest streak in Western Derby history - but Fremantle has now taken control after saluting in the past two encounters. Sunday's margin was emphatic and comes after the Dockers thrashed the Eagles by 97 points in pre-season, before a 13-point AAMI Series win. West Coast has slumped to 0-3 with the premiership window firmly closed amid its own issues, while Fremantle will be looking upwards.
WEST COAST 1.2 1.2 4.4 7.5 (47)
FREMANTLE 2.4 6.6 9.10 15.12 (102)
West Coast: Kennedy 2, Petruccelle, Naitanui, Nelson, Ryan, Darling
Fremantle: Taberner 3, Frederick 2, Schultz 2, Lobb 2, Colyer, Walters, Banfield, O'Driscoll, Acres, Switkowski
West Coast: Hurn, McGovern, Gaff, Naitanui
Fremantle: Brayshaw, Chapman, Schultz, Brodie, Acres, Clark
West Coast: Jones (leg)
Fremantle: Tucker (concussion), Pearce (ankle)
West Coast: Jake Waterman (replaced Jamaine Jones in the fourth quarter)
Fremantle: Bailey Banfield (replaced Darcy Tucker in the third quarter)