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Fremantle finally fires up away as Carlton can’t be bothered


It’s a picnic for Fremantle as skipper Nat Fyfe celebrates another goal in his 150th match, Carlton’s Kade Simpson unimpressed. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Fremantle finally fires up away as Carlton can’t be bothered

Rohan Connolly    

Fremantle supporters could well end up miffed even after a thumping 57-point win by their team against Carlton at Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

The Dockers did nothing wrong, in fact quite the reverse. After having lost five games on the road by an average 56 points, Freo was terrific in this one, immediately seizing the initiative and as good as having sealed the deal by quarter-time.

Their leaders were sensational from the word go, David Mundy setting the tone, Nat Fyfe prolific and as brilliant as ever in his return from suspension, and Lachie Neale virtually bringing his own ball to the game in a personal picnic of possessions and goals.

Fremantle’s kids (and there were seven in this team who had played 16 games or less) looked impressive again, Michael Apeness mobile and dangerous up forward, Andrew Brayshaw, Stefan, Adam Cerra and Brennan Cox all having their moments.

But so ordinary were their opposition in a diabolical first half that the aftermath of this result is almost certain to focus far more on Carlton’s woes than the fact a rebuilding Fremantle is now 6-7 and not without finals prospects, some winnable games coming up, and indeed six of its last nine at home.

When the old hands fire and the kids are contributing, Ross Lyon’s side is more than capable of matching most sides. Having broken the run of poor road performances might expedite a growth in confidence, too. Then again, just about any team would have dispensed with the Blues playing this badly.

Let’s not mince words here. Carlton has had some shocking lows over the past couple of decades, but its insipid, lazy and spiritless first half of football is right down there with the lowest of them, so much so that when the Blues walked off the ground at half-time, still goalless, they were loudly booed by their long-suffering fans.

And the alarm bells were ringing furiously within 10 minutes of the start. That was all it took for the Dockers to already put three goals on the board without response.

Mundy, playing forward, had the first within a couple of minutes. Carlton already looked seriously off the pace when Darcy Tucker strolled in for No.2, one of three Dockers who could have raffled the goal opposed to just one defender.

The third was similarly ominous, Apeness marking and casually dishing off a handball in the goalsquare to the unattended Bailey Banfield.

Already, turnovers were killing Carlton, which on the rare occasions the Blues did venture forward, then couldn’t kick straight, Matthew Wright missing a sitter, Levi Casboult also off-target. But the horror show was really only beginning.

Neale snapped his first goal after Carlton veteran Sam Rowe dropped a sitter of a chest mark. Apeness had the choice of either Cox or Hayden Ballantyne, both standing unattended in the goalsquare, when he picked up on the boundary line and casually handballed over the top. Then Fyfe, bobbing up everywhere, snapped a beauty to make it 35 points the difference.

Surely now, goalless at the first break and looking down the barrel, Carlton would find something, anything? Sadly for the Blues, they were even poorer in the second term than the first.

Neale had a second on the board within three minutes of the restart, Freo now 41 points up and having doubled Carlton’s inside 50 count. Andrew Brayshaw joined the party. Then Fyfe posted his second in glorious fashion, flying for a mark, recovering and snapping truly with a checkside effort.

There wasn’t just space for the Fremantle forwards, there was acres of it. Tom Sheridan found plenty of it for Freo’s 10th goal, seven of which had come from Carlton turnovers. Ballantyne had close to half a ground and seemingly half-an-hour to pivot on to his right for another snapped goal. Neale threaded his third from an angle.

That made it 12 goals to zip. And Carlton’s nightmare was summed up aptly right on the half-time siren as young forward Patrick Kerr marked. He had Matthew Kruezer in oodles of room, but chose to take the shot and failed to even make the distance.

Blues fans certainly didn’t hold back on how they felt as their side trudged from the ground, their chorus of boos of their own the loudest noise they’d made all afternoon.

Can you have any rays of light after a half that bad? Well, the Blues did show something, finally, during the third quarter, actually winning that term on the scoreboard by a solitary point after goals to Sam Kerridge and a brace to Matthew Kreuzer.

Carlton won the last, too, the Dockers held to a three-goal second half after going berserk in the first. But, really, the entire second half was little more than junk time, Freo’s intensity dropping off noticeably with victory already assured.

Acting captain Patrick Cripps gave everything as usual, finishing with 38 disposals. Kade Simpson, like all his defensive cohorts, was under the hammer all day but never stopped trying, and racked up an amazing 18 touches in the third term alone.

But the only numbers that really mattered for the Blues were when the game was still on the line. That wasn’t for long, and those numbers were awful.

Just seven behinds in a half. Just 18 inside 50 entries to the Dockers’ 31 and three marks inside 50 to Freo’s dozen. And 18 of 22 players with nine disposals or less to their names come the long break.

The pleas for patience have been going on forever. And rebuilding from the ground up has previously taken even the likes of Geelong six or seven years to achieve maximum results. This is still only coach Brendon Bolton’s third.

But so does there have to be at least some signs of encouragement, something to inspire in supporters at least a bit of hope. And Carlton offered absolutely none in this pitiful performance.

CARLTON 0.4 0.7 3.7 6.10 (46)
FREMANTLE 6.3 12.5 14.10 15.13 (103)
GOALS – Carlton: Kreuzer 2, Wright 2, Kerridge, Casboult. Fremantle: Neale 3, Fyfe 2, Tucker, Ballantyne, Apeness, Banfield, Cox, Ryan, Sheridan, Matera, Brayshaw, Mundy.
BEST – Carlton: Cripps, Simpson, Kreuzer, E. Curnow. Fremantle: Neale, Fyfe, Mundy, Blakely, Langdon, Apeness.
INJURIES – Matera (knee)

CROWD: 21,430 at Etihad Stadium

1 Comment
  1. With SOSgetting his spud of a son a game I think it somes up a now sad and pathetic club
    They are irrelevant
    Who cares aboutCarlton, mere minnows

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