Fremantle book a place in the Grand Final
Saturday september 21, 2013
FREMANTLE has qualified for its first Grand Final with a comprehensive 25-point victory over the reigning premiers the Sydney Swans.
The Dockers produced the most extraordinary display of team pressure to suffocate the Swans and win 14.15 (99) to 11.8 (74) in front of 43,249 fans, the second biggest crowd Fremantle has hosted at Patersons Stadium.
The deficit stood at 54 points midway through the last quarter before the Swans massaged the margin by kicking six of the last seven goals.
Nathan Fyfe and David Mundy were both outstanding contributors for the Dockers, while Michael Walters was electric up forward with three goals and a spectacular mark.
"It’s pleasing that we get the opportunity to go to a Grand Final," Dockers coach Ross Lyon said.
"They’re hard to get to and even harder to win."
The Swans' All Australian midfielders were shut out of the game. Ryan Crowley dominated Kieren Jack, keeping him to just 11 disposals. Josh Kennedy and Jarrad McVeigh worked hard but could not find the space and time to have a significant influence.
"Their pressure was outstanding and we couldn't move the ball out of our back half the way we wanted to," Swans coach John Longmire said.
"Their pressure in that part of the ground gave them repeat entries and we could get the ball going our way."
The Dockers set the game up with a devastating opening half.
The home side dominated the opening term but could not capitalise on their multitude of opportunities and inside 50s, kicking 2.9 for the quarter.
The Dockers had 10 more entries and eight more scores but only managed an eight-point lead after missing six of eight set shots.
Meanwhile, the Swans remained in touch courtesy of two brilliant snaps from Lewis Jetta and Harry Cunningham.
"I thought the game almost could have been over at quarter time," Lyon said.
"It was a concern because we’d dominated, and we kicked 2.9 in the first quarter, and a lot of them were gettable."
But the dam wall broke in the second term and Dockers captain Matthew Pavlich led the charge. He nailed his second goal from a set shot in the opening minutes of the quarter that led to an unbroken five-goal burst to blow the margin out to 31 points at half-time.
The Swans were swamped by an avalanche of Fremantle pressure. They failed to register a possession inside attacking 50 for the first 27 minutes of the second term as they were pinned deeper and deeper in defence.
Their half-time score of 2.2 (14) was the club's lowest score at the main break in a final.
The Swans responded in the third term but, like the Dockers in the first, they couldn't capitalise on their momentum. Jude Bolton kicked a goal with his first kick of his 325th and last match. Gary Rohan was subbed in for Craig Bird and he had an immediate impact with a goal.
But two pieces of individual brilliance from Walters - firstly a quick crumb and snap and then a high-flying mark and goal - kept the Swans at arm's length.
Matt de Boer was subbed out in his 100th match for Lachie Neale, who came on and kicked a goal immediately before Fyfe added his second to extend the margin to 43 points at the last change.
The last term was about injury management for Fremantle. Luke McPharlin and Michael Johnson both nursed calf problems throughout and Danyle Pearce copped a late knock.
The Dockers will now prepare for the biggest game in their 19-year history: an inaugural Grand Final appearance, where they will face a Hawks outfit that has clearly been the league's benchmark in 2013.
Fremantle: Walters 3, Pavlich 2, Fyfe 2, Suban 2, Crowley, Duffield, Neale, Barlow, Ballantyne
Sydney Swans: Rohan 2, Cunningham 2, Jetta, Parker, Bolton, McGlynn, Pyke, Hannebery, McVeigh
Fremantle: Mundy, Fyfe, Crowley, Walters, Duffield, Mzungu
Sydney Swans: McVeigh, Kennedy, Parker, Malceski, McGlynn, Mumford
Fremantle: Spurr (cut head), Johnson (calf), Pearce (shin)
Sydney Swans: McGlynn (cut head)
Fremantle: Lachie Neale replaced Matt de Boer in the third quarter
Sydney Swans: Gary Rohan replaced Craig Bird in the third quarter
Umpires: Stevic, Meredith, McInerney
Official crowd: 43,249 at Patersons Stadium
Johnson named to take on Swans
September 19, 2013
Fremantle has included All Australian defender Michael Johnson o the 22 that will represent the club against Sydney in its first home preliminary final.
Midfielder Tom Sheridan was the player to make way. He has been named as an emergency along with Alex Silvagni and Jack Hannath.
Johnson missed the qualifying final win over Geelong with a calf injury.
Fremantle general manager of football Chris Bond said the 28-year-old had trained well this week and would slot straight back into the league’s best defence.
“We obviously know the year that he’s had,” he said.
“He plays a very important part of our back six and he’s up against some real quality opposition as well, so he’s a very important in for us.”
For Johnson to come in,someone had to make way, and that was young midfielder Sheridan, who Bond said was unlucky to miss out.
“He’s a second-year player who, like a number of our second-year players, has really stood up this year,” he said.
“He played a role in a significantly big final.
“It’s really disappointing for Tom, but we know the character of the person he is.
“He’ll hold himself together really well, and we know he’s going to be the future of this football club.”
Bond said Saturday night’s prelim at Patersons Stadium would be a great contest against a great side.
“They’ve been there, done that,” the football manager said of the Swans.
“From our point of view it’s a great challenge for our group. We’ve prepared really well and trained really well, which we’ve been really pleased with all year.
“It’s going to be a great night against quality opposition - last year’s premiers - and I think it’s going to be a fitting night for everybody involved.”
The winner will face either Hawthorn or Geelong the following Saturday in the 2013 Toyota AFL Grand Final.
| Fremantle Team Preliminary Final v Sydney