Fremantle overcame the loss of ruckman Jon Griffin and saw off a fierce Collingwood fightback to post a 27-point victory in Saturday night’s AFL clash at Patersons Stadium.
Fremantle delivered a stunning counter-punch after a spirited Magpies comeback to kick the final five goals of the match and secure the 15.10 (100) to 10.13 (73) win in front of 37,214 fans.
Griffin’s season could be over after the former Adelaide ruckman injured his right knee in innocuous fashion during a ruck contest 11 minutes into the match.
Collingwood looked gone for all money after falling 44 points behind eight minutes into the second quarter.
But with Darren Jolly giving Collingwood a massive edge at the clearances, the Magpies clawed their way back and even hit the lead early in the final term when sub Caolan Mooney dribbled a clever goal.
The stage was set for Collingwood to run away with their sixth win of the year.
Instead, small forward Michael Walters was crucial with four goals, while Garrick Ibbotson also played a key role to snap Fremantle’s four-match losing streak to Collingwood.
Magpies midfielder Dane Swan (27 possessions and two goals) and Sam Dwyer (25 disposals, two goals) helped spark the fightback, but key forward Travis Cloke had an off night with just 0.4.
Fremantle improved their record to 5-2, but will be sweating on the severity of Griffin’s injury.
The Dockers have already lost Kepler Bradley for the season, while fellow key position players Matthew Pavlich (plantaris), Aaron Sandilands (hamstring) and Zac Clarke (leg) are still absent through injury.
The Magpies also face a nervous wait after defender Heath Shaw struck Fremantle goalsneak Hayden Ballantyne in the groin.
“He punched me in the nuts,” Ballantyne cried out to the umpire, before kicking a goal from the subsequent free kick in the second quarter.
Fremantle were unstoppable in the opening term, with their relentless running and tackling forcing Collingwood to commit a glut of errors.
The Dockers booted the opening five goals of the match, and entered the quarter-time break with a commanding 32-point lead.
Collingwood dominated play in the second quarter, but they were unable to capitalise on a glut of chances as Fremantle kept their rivals at bay.
The Magpies finally made the most of their dominance in the third quarter, but were stopped dead in their tracks during the final term as Walters again weaved his magic up forward.
The Dockers were dealt a blow before the game when star midfielder Stephen Hill was forced to withdraw after failing to overcome a quad injury.
Fremantle coach Ross Lyon said it was highly likely Griffin had ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament.
“We have grave concerns. But those grave concerns need to be legitimised with scans and orthopedic surgeons who are really accurate in their assessments,” Lyon said.
“Our heart goes out to our players when they get injured.”
Collingwood dominated the stoppages 37-22, but coach Nathan Buckley rued his team’s horrible start.
“Yeah terrible. Really disappointing. I’ve got no idea where it came from, and the players are having a chat at the moment to work out why,” Buckley said.
“We played OK through the second and third quarters, but you’ve got to play four quarters to win a game of footy. We only played a half.”