Fremantle showcased their premiership credentials with a 30-point win over West Coast in Sunday’s western derby at Domain Stadium.
The Dockers booted the first 11 goals of the match on the way to the 17.9 (111) to 12.9 (81) victory, with Lachie Neale awarded the Ross Glendinnig medal as best afield.
Neale finished with 42 possessions, seven clearances, and three goals to win the award for a second time, while Nat Fyfe, Stephen Hill, Danyle Pearce, and Aaron Sandilands also played crucial roles in the triumph.
The final margin flattered West Coast.
Fremantle led by 79 points early in the third term, before West Coast booted nine of the last 10 goals of the game to add respectability to the scoreboard.
Compounding West Coast’s woes was an injury to key defender Jeremy McGovern, who limped off during the second term after hurting his left knee in a tackle.
McGovern returned to the field after halftime, but he was subbed out 20 minutes into the third quarter when the issue flared again.
Fremantle have now won the past six derbies, and 15 of the last 19.
But more importantly, the Dockers’ hot form suggests they will be well in contention to break their premiership duck this year.
After posting a tight win over Port Adelaide in the season opener, Fremantle have demolished Geelong and West Coast in the past fortnight.
Next week’s showdown against Sydney in Perth could end up being a sneak preview to this year’s grand final given the hot form of both sides.
The Eagles unleashed their season slogan of “The West Is Ours” on the big screen before Sunday’s game.
But the first quarter was all Fremantle’s as the ‘visitors’ slammed on nine unanswered goals to equal their best ever opening term of 9.2.
The Dockers dominated almost every stat.
Possessions (119-83), clearances (15-4), inside-50s (20-8), and tackles (22-13) all weighed heavily in their favour, with the scoreline reading 56-4 at the first change.
Goals to Michael Walters and Stephen Hill early in the second quarter extended the margin to 65 points.
But Nic Naitanui finally ended West Coast’s goal drought at the eight-minute mark when he ran down Michael Johnson in the square and converted his free kick.
Sharrod Wellingham nailed a miracle goal from the boundary line a short time later to spark more life into the Eagles. But it was too little, too late for any meaningful comeback, despite the late avalanche of goals.
West Coast’s lead in the overall derby tally has now been whittled down to just one (21-20), and Fremantle can close that gap when the two teams meet again in round 20.