Round 16 – Fremantle v Carlton: Back on track

 

 

If someone were to look at the AFL ladder and see a team 13-2 on the top of the ladder, a game clear of the chasers they’d think ‘Wow, what a season they must be having’.

 

If that same person looked at the ladder after watching the Fremantle massacre at the hands of Hawthorn they would think it was a clerical error that the men in purple were sitting pretty on top.

 

On paper tonight’s game should be one-sided and convincing. Fremantle are on top of the ladder and Carlton are sitting in 16th after a season full of chaos and drama. It should really be a public training run for the Dockers.

 

It should be. But as every long-suffering Dockers supporter knows, things that should be very often aren’t.

 

Walking towards Subi Oval the crowd seemed just a little bit subdued, nervous even. Why were we nervous? We’re playing Carlton on our home deck; we should be confidently making our way towards four more points.

 

We headed straight to the Bill Walker Room, one of the few places you can get a full strength beer at the footy, for a nerve settler. We listened to the conversations around us, ‘how good is Fyfey?’, ‘I’d love to see Pav kick a bag this week’, ‘Shit, West Coast just beat Collingwood and now they’re top of the ladder’. They were the same conversations we have every week, but this week they were a little bit less convincing.

 

If the last 21 years has taught us anything, it’s never get ahead of yourself when it comes to the Dockers. Nine weeks of scintillating football, an unbeaten run by a team playing it’s best ever football. 50, 000 members vowed this was the year, we were booking tickets to that one day in September, erm, October, it was going to be the best Premiership year anyone had ever seen.

 

Then we met Hawthorn in Tasmania and now we doubted whether we could be convincing against Carlton. Talk about a 180-degree turnaround.

 

Regardless we settled in for Saturday night footy, hoping that Fremantle would wipe our doubts clean with the type of first quarter that characterized the first half of our season. Surely that’s how the script should be written.

 

Carlton clearly didn’t read the script because within three minutes 33, 000 people were having red hot flashbacks of a very forgettable round 10 match against Richmond. Carlton had two quick goals and their block of supporters was making a very unreasonable amount of noise.

Pav should have had a blinder – he was due. In fact he was overdue. For the first five minutes it looked like he was about the break the game open all by himself, but we got ahead of ourselves. We should have known better, he tried hard and was rewarded with 2.5. He’s still due.

 

Fyfe should have had a blinder, against a lesser opposition the three votes should already have been written in. While he had his traditional moments of brilliance – keeping the ball in while running the boundary line to set up a goal for Ballantyne, a man in need of form – he wasn’t his usual self. To the credit of Simon White the three votes became an impossibility for the great man.

 

After kicking the goal on the end of said Fyfe brilliance, Ballantyne was subbed off for the remainder of the home and away season. He should be back for the big dance in October, should Fremantle get there.

 

Even with all the things that should have gone the way of the Dockers but didn’t, they still ran out the match 42 point winners, stretching a 21 point three quarter time lead in a wet final term.

 

Michael Walters put his hand up for a Mark of the Year nomination in the final term to keep the crowd interested in a match that generally wasn’t one for the highlights reel.

 

After a 42-point win, the Freo faithful still left the ground feeling that little seed of doubt that has been planted by disappointing losses to Richmond and Hawthorn and watered by the media.

 

Another quick beer post match gets us thinking about next week – Richmond at the ‘G. Tough match away from home against a team on the rise, but hey, Freo are top of the ladder so really we should win that.

 

 

My votes are

3 – Chris Mayne

2 – David Mundy (9 Tackles!)

  1. Simon White (Unfortunately for keeping Fyfe quiet)

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. You have verbalised what I have been thinking… How can we be on top of the ladder and play so crap? Here goes the Richmond game as we speak. Luckily I am at work so I can’t watch…

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