Dockers belt Tigers in AFL pre-season cup

Fremantle goalsneak Hayden Ballantyne faces a race against time to be fit for the start of the AFL season after injuring his hamstring in Friday’s 60-point NAB Challenge win over Richmond in Mandurah.

Ballantyne was lively early, laying four tackles and booting a goal in the opening term to help set up the 14.6 (90) to 4.6 (30) victory.

But the 28-year-old’s day was over early in the second term when he injured his left hamstring.

Although the injury didn’t seem overly serious, Ballantyne’s history of hamstring issues means the Dockers will need to take a conservative approach with the feisty forward.

The Dockers play two more pre-season games – against Adelaide and Geelong – before opening their season on March 27 against the Western Bulldogs.

Richmond forward Ty Vickery lasted less than a quarter before exiting the game following a heavy head knock.

Dockers ruckman Aaron Sandilands might come under scrutiny for his heavy bump that knocked the wind out of Ben Griffiths in the third quarter.

Fremantle entered the match with a near full-strength side, while Richmond unleashed a youthful squad missing stars such as Dustin Martin, Jack Riewoldt, Alex Rance and Trent Cotchin.

The mismatch in experience was evident throughout the match.

Fremantle’s little men did the bulk of the damage in the opening term as Michael Walters and Ballantyne weaved their magic.

Walters tallied eight disposals through the midfield in the first quarter as Fremantle booted the first seven goals of the match to effectively end the contest.

Fyfe entered the fray in the third term with his team holding a 27-point lead, and the Brownlow medallist didn’t waste time making his mark, finishing the match with 18 disposals.

He also took a brave mark backing into the pack, showing no ill effects from the back injury he suffered just before Christmas.

Dockers skipper Matthew Pavlich, who considered retirement at the end of last season, booted four goals in a strong display.

The Tigers were well served by Reece Conca, Shaun Grigg and Kamdyn McIntosh, but they simply lacked the experience to match Fremantle’s battle-hardened outfit.

Richmond’s first pick from last year’s national draft – Daniel Rioli – finished with just four disposals in a low-key debut.

The Tigers are expected to recall their big guns for next week’s clash with Hawthorn.

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