Dockers sink Brisbane with late AFL blitz

Fremantle skipper Matthew Pavlich lifted when it mattered most to help his side overcome a plucky Brisbane by 36 points in Sunday’s AFL clash at Domain Stadium.

The Dockers led by just three points at the final change despite dominating the inside-50m count 39-22 up until that point.

But two opportunistic goals to Pavlich early in the final quarter helped break Brisbane’s spirit, with the 13.6 (84) to 7.6 (48) win keeping Fremantle two games clear on top of the table.

Pavlich entered the match on the back of a three-game goal drought.

But the 33-year-old competed strongly in the final term to finish the match with three goals, while Michael Walters booted four to follow on from his four-goal haul against Collingwood.

Brisbane tagger Mitch Robinson and star Fremantle midfielder Nat Fyfe were involved in an intriguing battle.

Fyfe was restricted to just four possessions in the first quarter, but the Brownlow medal favourite rebounded to finish with 27 disposals and nine clearances.

It was tough work throughout the afternoon for Fyfe, who had his shorts pulled down in a third-quarter tackle.

The match pitted first against last, but the scoreboard didn’t reflect that disparity for the majority of the contest.

Fremantle threatened to blow the game wide open in the second term when they dominated the inside-50m count 17-4 as driving rain lashed the ground.

But the Dockers were left to rue a series of missed chances in front of goal, with Hayden Ballantyne missing an easy set shot, before Fyfe and Zac Clarke sprayed their kicks out on the full.

Lions ruckman Matthew Leuenberger competed strongly against Dockers giant Aaron Sandilands in the first half.

And his two long-range goals proved crucial in keeping the Lions in the contest.

Sunshine replaced the rain for the start of the second half, but again the Dockers failed to convert their inside-50m ascendancy.

Sandilands missed a sitter from 20m in front as the Lions’ defence repelled countless other attacks.

But the floodgates finally opened in the last quarter, with some smart snaps from Pavlich and goals to Danyle Pearce and Walters getting the ball rolling.

After the match, Fremantle and Brisbane players stood arm-in-arm in a circle to honour Adelaide coach Phil Walsh, who was murdered earlier in the week.

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