Dockers keep faith despite loss to Crows
Fremantle coach Ross Lyon hasn’t given up hope of leading his team to the AFL finals, saying the Dockers should gain confidence despite suffering a 29-point loss to Adelaide at Patersons Stadium on Saturday.
The Dockers put up a brave fight against the highly-rated Crows, overcoming a 36-point deficit midway through the second quarter to hit the lead early in the final term.
Adelaide appeared dead on their feet as Fremantle made their march.
But a superb final quarter from midfielder Rory Sloane inspired the Crows to victory, with the visitors slamming on the last five goals of the match to secure the 17.9 (111) to 12.10 (82) triumph.
Fremantle entered the clash on the back of big losses to Hawthorn and West Coast, with Lyon’s defensive game plan copping the brunt of criticism from fans and former players.
AFL great Kevin Bartlett labelled the Dockers “unwatchable”, while Carlton legend Mark Maclure accused Lyon of destroying the game with his shut-down style.
The Dockers played with far more freedom against the Crows, and were duly rewarded for their enterprise in a superb third-quarter display.
However, Fremantle (5-5) are a game and sizeable percentage adrift of eighth spot, and could slip even further in the coming weeks with tough games against Richmond (MCG), Essendon (home) and Collingwood (MCG) to come.
Lyon played down concerns his team were in danger of slipping out of the finals mix, believing they had taken an important step forward against the Crows despite again being smashed in the clearances (53-30).
“I know the doomsayers will be out there but, at 5-5, the season’s well and truly alive,” Lyon said.
“Everyone talks about results. It’s a marathon.
“Anxiety comes from worrying about the future. How do you control that? Stay in the present, control the moment and that’s what we aim to do.
“Confidence comes from action and I thought we delivered a lot of good action today.
“They should walk away knowing they delivered that and they can play some pretty good football.”
The Crows improved their record to 8-2 ahead of their bye, and coach Brenton Sanderson praised the spirit of his group to finish the game so strongly.
“It was pretty special,” Sanderson said.
“For (Fremantle) to fight back from six goals down and then to get in front of us, a lot of sides would have thrown the towel in then, I reckon.
“A lot of sides would have thought ‘that’s enough’.
“But not this team.
“This team has got incredible spirit. The way they fought it out was a pretty special quarter.”
Patrick Dangerfield (32 disposals, one goal) was influential in the first three quarters, but the star of the show was Sloane, who finished with 33 touches and three goals.
Forward Taylor Walker booted four goals, including two in the final term, while Matthew Wright (three goals) was also influential in the win.
The one concern to come out of the match for Adelaide was the third-quarter report of Bernie Vince, who struck Dockers ruckman Zac Clarke off the ball in retaliation for an earlier bump.© AAP 2013