Round 1 – Fremantle v North Melbourne: It’s a long way to come

 

 

by Poppy Penny

 

This year is my 10th year as a Dockers Member, but my second season living away from Perth. Last year I moved to Kalgoorlie which, according to Google Maps, is 590km away from Perth Stadium. I made the decision to keep my membership and make the long journey back and forth when I can, and that included Sunday’s Round 1 match against North Melbourne.

 

I’ll tell you what, it’s a really long drive from Kalgoorlie to Perth, but it feels a WHOLE lot longer when we lose, which is pretty much all I experienced in 2018.

 

We hadn’t even left and the 2019 road trip was already feeling ominous, Hogan was out, Cox was injured and all of a sudden we were pulling Cam McCarthy out of the Peel Thunder line-up to fill the gaping holes in our ‘restocked’ forward line.

 

Round 1 is always a gamble, and the rest of the results had me worried by the time the ball was bounced at Perth Stadium on Sunday. Who knew? If Brisbane could beat the Eagles and the Swans were on the losers’ list and Gold Coast were competitive, ANYTHING could happen.

 

Thankfully the topsy-turvy nature of the round continued with Fremantle showing a brand of football that I think even surprised Ross Lyon. Our defence was back to being impenetrable, our midfield looked stronger than ever despite losing Lachie Neale, and our forward line… well we actually had one.

 

Cam McCarthy was almost unrecognisable, and that was just off the field. He gets a sensible haircut and shaves that hipster moustache off and then suddenly he’s kicking a 5 goal bag – coincidence? I think not.

 

There was one passage of play that I think I could watch for hours on a loop… Darcy rucking to Mundy, who gives it off to Fyfe, back to Mundy who slots it from 35m on the run. I think every Docker’s’ fan in the stadium had to squash that rising feeling of victory, because years of conditioning has taught us that we could still lose, no matter how big the margin is.

 

By three-quarter-time I think some members of the crowd were looking around wondering where the Premiership Cup was and whether they were writing ‘Fremantle’ on it already. I assume they have.

 

The final quarter was basically just a party, and it was one of the best I’ve ever been to. There was yelling and cheering and I was sure my hands were bruised after it from clapping so hard.

 

Who would have thought? McCarthy kicked 5, Fyfe was back to being a beast in the midfield, David Mundy continues to age backwards like Benjamin Button, Lachie Shultz kicked his first AFL goals proving that Freo only need one Lachie on the team, and the rest of the kids looked good, really really good.

 

For a moment in the last quarter I chose to really let it sink in. The crowd kicked off the ‘Freeeeeoooo’ chant and it rung around Perth Stadium and I thought to myself that it was probably worth the drive.

 

Finishing round one 82 point winners and sitting in second on the ladder is one way to make a 6 hour drive zoom by, that and the fact that West Coast were beaten by Brisbane.

 

What a perfect weekend for WA football.

 

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A proud West Aussie living in NSW, spreading the good word of the Freo Dockers!

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