Fremantle coach Ross Lyon couldn’t be happier after watching his side cop a final-quarter pounding at the hands of West Coast on Sunday.
The Dockers kept their unbeaten start to the AFL season alive with a cruisy 30-point win in western derby XLI.
Fremantle 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 Glendinning 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.
Fremantle were on track to post a win of mammoth proportions after opening up a 79-point lead early in the third term.
But West Coast booted nine of the final 10 goals of the match to add some much-needed respectability to the scoreboard.
Lyon was super impressed with his team’s white-hot first half.
And even the second-half fadeout served a purpose – keeping his team grounded ahead of next Saturday’s showdown against Sydney in Perth.
“The Eagles came home strong, and we didn’t play very well in the last quarter,” Lyon said.
“It’s a really sharp reminder for us. So I’m the happiest person in the room at the moment.
“We’re under no illusions. We’re no juggernaut.
“We’re a hard working, blue-collar team. When we do things well, we’re capable. But if we back off, we’ll get hurt quickly.”
West Coast’s horror day was capped off by a knee injury to star swingman Jeremy McGovern.
The 23-year-old suffered the injury while making a tackle during the second quarter, and he was eventually subbed off late in the third term.
McGovern will undergo scans on Monday to determine the extent of the damage, but coach Adam Simpson expects the key defender to miss several weeks.
The Eagles were obliterated in the opening half, with the first quarter particularly brutal as Fremantle piled on nine unanswered goals.
Possessions (119-83), clearances (15-4), inside-50s (20-8), and tackles (22-13) all weighed heavily in Fremantle’s favour, with the scoreline reading 56-4 at the first change.
“We just got whacked on the chin, and staggered, and then we got whacked again,” Simpson said.
“It was really disappointing that we didn’t calm ourselves down. We just got annihilated in that first quarter.
“Really the game was over at quarter-time.
“Today was unacceptable in the sense that we didn’t turn up to play in that first quarter.”
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.