Round 22: Fremantle v Melbourne: McClelland Clinched Despite D-Grade Performance


With cross town big brother West Coast heading to Adelaide for a surprisingly decent beating, the Fremantle Football club clinched a piece of history claiming the Dr Wm.C McClelland trophy for the first time. Polishing the trophy though should take a back seat to polishing the performance on the field, for their seemingly routine win was probably as poor a performance as their losses in the previous weeks were.

Probably the biggest reason for the poor performance came down to decision making. Too many times both in defence and attack there were one or two too many handballs that missed the target or the kicking either was wide of the mark or kicked to the disadvantage of a teammate. For the bulk of this game it didn’t cost them, for Melbourne’s disposal particularly during the first half was even worse. Whilst I didn’t hear the commentary for either TV or radio, I’m sure their commentators at least mentioned that if the opposition was who they would be facing in a fortnight, then the improvement in that area would have to be near dramatic. Of course it didn’t help when Paul Roos made a tactical blunder/concession when he allowed a loose man to be played in their forward line against them. Five unanswered goals in the first term, followed by a similar score in the second prior to Jeff Garlett finding the mark was enough before a conventional man on man setup was tried.

It was a strange atmosphere at a stadium where the crowd was lower than normal, notwithstanding Melbourne’s lowly supporter base. Normally a boisterous crowd, the purple haze more often than not groaned at their teams inability to function at the high level Ross Lyon expects. They also struggled to emulate cricket crowds for the last 10 minutes of the last quarter, when the only on field interest was if the Dockers would notch a rare ton in the points column (several made for the exits upon the last goal being kicked which satisfied this criteria). I counted at least 12 attempts at a Mexican Wave emulating from the official cheersquad at the base of the 3-tier stand. Of those 12, only 2 made it to centre wing on the broadcast side, with the wave being clockwise around the ground, the other 10 didn’t make it past the pocket.

What was supposed to be a milestone game for Melbourne skipper Nathan Jones became forgettable courtesy of physical ailment. Having copped a solid knock from Zac Dawson late in the first term, the poster boy for follicularly challenged footballers was substituted in the second term with what was a lower leg ailment requiring a moon boot. He at least seemed in high spirits in the Virgin Lounge after the game with daughter in tow. In fact it was a day of injuries, for after Matthew Pavlich was placed in cotton wool, both Lee Spurr (who appeared to cop a cork in his leg only to return) and Cam Sutcliffe (what I thought was a dislocated finger turned out to be a dislocated shoulder) both encountered problems.

After the game (and a decent delay in waiting for a train that I really shouldn’t have caught, needed to shuffle down a platform) the Fremantle coaching staff flagged their intention to play what is virtually a Peel Thunder type side next weekend for a now dead rubber in Adelaide against Port. In terms of finals however, at least 3 players saw their chances of inclusion deep into September diminish. Tendai Mzungu often would butcher the ball through his decision making, Jon Griffin despite less than ideal service to him made zero impression on the contest, and Michael Barlow’s form slump continued, with his kicking about as useful as Tiger Woods’ short game as it has been for a while. I’m sure a couple of players who will be plucked from a Peel Thunder finals team (leaving them exposed to fielding an inexperienced team much like those VFL teams who refused to practice the 12/10 rule when that was in place to help the stand alone players and clubs) will see this audition as a chance to snatch a spot for a tilt at the finals.



FREMANTLE 17.6.104

FREO: D.Pearce 3.1, Pavlich 3.0, de Boer 2.0, Neale 2.0, Mayne 1.1, Hill 1.1, Mzungu 1.0, Ibbotson 1.0, Sandilands 1.0, Sheridan 1.0, Barlow 1.0, Duffield 0.1, Langdon 0.1, RUSHED 0.1
MELB: Hogan 2.0, Garlett 2.0, Watts 1.1, Grimes 1.0, Vince 1.0, Gawn 1.0, Michie 0.2, Dunn 0.1, RUSHED 0.2

FREO: Neale, Suban, D.Pearce, Sandilands, McPharlin, Mundy
MELB: Cross, Viney, Gawn, Garlett


3: Lachie NEALE (Freo)
2: Nick SUBAN (Freo)
1: Daniel CROSS (Melb)

CROWD: 35,529 at Subiaco Oval.


About Mick Jeffrey

32 Year Old, Bulldogs Member and tragic. Reserve Grade coach after over 225 combined senior/reserves appearances for Brothers AFC in AFL Capricornia. 11 time Marathon finisher, one time Ultra Marathon finisher and Comrades Marathon competitor 2017.


  1. Sean Gorman says

    Thanks Mick – were you over for the C2S? Yes as you mention the crowd was less boisterous than usual but I have to take issue I felt the crowd was pretty good seeing it was only the Dees we were playing. I thought there would be less tbh but I could not see any discernible gaps.

    As for form I also think Tendai, and Barlow will sharpen up as their minds become more focused and Griff has also won the faith of his coach and has been playing well. Ross does not like change which will seem ironic that 11 odd players who need a bex and a camp will be replaced by the Peelers.

    Dogs look good.

  2. I was proud that the Mexican wave petered out.

    I was very sorry for Nathan Jones, he is a gem.

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