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The Fremantle Dockers have marked themselves as the AFLW premiership threat they were long prophesied to be with a domninant 27-point win over the Brisbane Lions at home on Sunday.
The Lions kicked with the wind in the first term and raced out to an early lead with three goals to one, but that was the end of their good news.
Fremantle put home three goals to none in the second quarter and didn’t look back.
Particularly crucial was the strength of their defence in the third. Although the Lions kept the ball in their forward half for most of the quarter, the Dockers restricted them to just one goal.
Then, importantly, through Ashley Sharp and Ebony Antonio, they put through two of their own against the wind to take a 20-point advantage in the final term.
The Lions were able to score two against the wind in the last quarter, but Fremantle more than kept pace, running out winners by 27 points.
Pick No.17 in last year’s AFLW draft Sabreena Duffy put herself in the conversation for a Rising Star nomination with a classy display of 11 disposals and two goals.
Ashley Sharp also kicked two for the Dockers, as did Jess Wuetschner and Natalie Exon for Brisbane. Wuetschner with five goals is the season’s leading goalkicker so far.
Ally Anderson was prolific for Brisbane with 25 touches and a goal, while Dana Hooker had 24 disposals for the Dockers. Exon had 17 touches and eight tackles to go with her two goals.
Ebony Antonio showed her versatility, having an influence at both ends, while Katie Lutkins took a game-high six marks in defence for Brisbane.
Fremantle could go 3-0 next week hosting Collingwood at this same ground, while the Lions are set for a crucial game against Melbourne at Hickey Park.
Fremantle Dockers 10.7.67
Brisbane Lions 6.4.40
The Fremantle Dockers and the Brisbane Lions will both have the chance to convert winning starts into a 2-0 record when they meet at Fremantle Oval. Join The Roar for live scores and a live blog of the match, starting from 6:05pm AEDT.
Both of these sides would be happy with their start to the 2019 season, but if you’ve got to pick one, the Dockers after winning their first ever road game would have to be the more chuffed of the two teams coming into week two.
Two years in a row the Dockers have narrowly avoided the AFLW wooden spoon. In season 2017 they had only a single win and finished above GWS on percentage.
2018 was an improved effort in terms of win total with a 3-4 record, but in a very even season it was only enough to finish seventh again.
They might have expected a simillar performance in season 2019 but instead stamped themselves a team to watch in a remarkable game against Melbourne that was full of twists and turns.
The Dockers raced out to a dominant early lead only to concede it in the third quarter, then pushed their noses back in front late to come away with a well-earned four-point victory.
The 114 points combined between the two sides made it the second highest scoring AFLW match in history, behind only the 116 scored by Adelaide and Carlton in Round 7, 2017.
Brisbane’s story is a very different one – runners-up two years in a row, the Lions are desperate to finally get their hands on a premiership cup after coming so close, twice.
It wasn’t easy but they managed to scrape home a two-point win against the GWS Giants last week – a side also expected to contend this season.
It’s hard to say off one week’s form who is in better shape here, especially with both sides playing in close Round 1 matches.
Fremantle’s ability to pile on the points last week suggests they could be a match for Brisbane’s stifling defence – I’ll tip them, albeit with a little trepidation.
Fremantle Dockers by 6 points.
Join The Roar for live scores and a live blog of the match between the Fremantle Dockers and the Brisbane Lions at Fremantle Oval in Round 2 of the 2019 AFLW season on Sunday afternoon, starting from 6:05pm AEDT.
Where: Fremantle Oval
When: 6:05pm AEDT
TV: Fox Footy
B: E.Gooch, T.Bresland, A.Stannett
HB: A.Williams, E.Antonio, P.Seth
HF: K.Gibson, G.Houghton, G.O’Sullivan
F: H.Miller, A.Sharp, K.Bowers
Foll: P.Laurie, D.Hooker, K.Donnellan
I/C (from): S.Duffy, K.Grieve, L.Pugh, L.Mascall, M.Caulfield, C.Stubbs, A.Atkins
B: S.Virgo, S.Webb, N.Exon
HB: S.Campbell, L.Kaslar, K.Lutkins
HF: L.Arnell, M.Dowrick, E.Zielke
F: J.Wuetschner, S.Frederick-Traub, J.Zanchetta
Foll: J.Tawhiao-Wardlaw, E.Bates, A.Anderson
I/C (from): A.Clarke, P.Parker, L.Bella, N.Grider, K.McCarthy, T.Groves-Little, G.Collingwood