Fremantle gained a sweet slice of revenge for last year’s finals exit with a seven-point win over Port Adelaide in Sunday night’s AFL clash at Domain Stadium.
Port Adelaide came from 31 points down to beat a wayward Fremantle in last year’s semi-final in Perth, with their famed running game spooking the rest of the competition.
But it was the Dockers who landed the defining blows when it mattered most in Sunday’s re-match, with the home side scoring four goals to three in the final term to secure the 11.9 (75) to 10.8 (68) win.
The Power led by seven points early in the last term.
But David Mundy produced a final quarter of epic proportions to will Fremantle over the line.
Mundy tallied 13 possessions and five clearances for the term, while skipper Matthew Pavlich booted two clutch goals to finish with four for the match.
Midfielder Nat Fyfe also starred with 31 possessions and a goal before Mundy and Pavlich took the game by the scruff of its neck.
Port Adelaide midfielder Brad Ebert was influential with 34 possessions and a goal, but he was placed on report late in the match for tripping.
The Power suffered a big blow before the match when ruckman Matthew Lobbe was forced to withdraw because of quad tightness.
Young forward John Butcher was parachuted into the 22, but Lobbe’s absence meant Paddy Ryder had to endure a heavy workload in the ruck work in his first match for the club.
Both teams produced their fair share of embarrassing errors in a hard-fought first half.
Power forward Jake Neade was looking for a hole to hide in after kicking it out on the full from his 25m set shot directly in front.
And in defence, Port veteran Alipate Carlile copped it from the 34,099 crowd after fumbling a high ball over the boundary with no one else around.
Fremantle’s errors proved more costly though.
Neade was gifted a goal from point-blank range when Chad Wingard’s set shot fell short and the Dockers’ defence failed to clean it up.
And in attack, Fremantle’s Michael Walters almost dribbled through a long-range goal – only for Hayden Ballantyne to fumble the ball through for a point in his attempt to scoop it up and score.
Apart from that moment, Ballantyne was at his frenetic best in the opening half, with the 173cm, 77kg pocket rocket using his body as a battering ram to apply mass pressure on the Power.
Port scored the next two goals after Ballantyne’s fumble to take a two-point lead into the long break, and they still led by three points at the final change despite having to withstand a Fremantle surge in the third quarter.
But the Dockers finished the match full of run to secure the win.