Methodical Fremantle have maintained their perfect start to the AFL season, taking apart Melbourne by 68 points to record a fifth straight win
Ross Lyon’s side sit alone as the only unbeaten side at the top of the AFL ladder after their 18.10 (118) to 6.14 (50) victory at the MCG.
Bidding to win back-to-back games for the first time in five years, Melbourne were never in the contest after shipping the first four goals within the opening 10 minutes.
Until the last term, the Demons were outclassed but not embarrassed, unable to muster a sustained challenge against a side that made few errors.
But the Demons took the last quarter off, conceding seven straight goals to give the Dockers a percentage boost.
David Mundy and Nat Fyfe were strong contributors for Fremantle, with Chris Mayne impressively leading the Dockers attack with four goals in the absence of Matthew Pavlich.
Pavlich was concussed in the first half, as was small forward Michael Walters.
Despite an interchange bench of just two for the second half, the Dockers powered on.
Fremantle were efficient and clean, able to exploit a seemingly endless string of favourable match-ups across the ground.
The tall and big-bodied side were stronger in the contest, leading from their first goal to the final whistle.
Stephen Hill, Matt Taberner, Nick Suban and Mundy’s first term goals gave the Dockers a strong buffer.
Lyon said it was these goals that pleased him most.
“They’re one of the best three starting teams in the AFL so to come out and be dominant first quarter was really pleasing,” he said.
Demons coach Paul Roos issued a spirited quarter-time address after his side’s error-strewn start.
Melbourne lifted in the second quarter, but just as they summoned some momentum, an unfortunate 50m penalty from Jeff Garlett gave Dockers substitute Matt de Boer an easy goal.
Shortly after, the Fremantle skipper headed from the ground after taking a high hit in a strong challenge from Colin Garland.
Mayne kicked truly from Pavlich’s shot for goal, ensuring any foothold the Demons had was lost.
From halftime, the Dockers pushed on, kicking 10.4 to 1.10 to settle an unremarkable game in front of 22,892 people.
Roos said Garlett, who kicked three goals, was outstanding but he couldn’t find too many other positives to the fadeout.
“I didn’t think they had to play that well to beat us,” he said.
“They’re a high quality team, what you like to do is produce really good football and make teams beat you.
“We didn’t make them beat us.”