Fremantle were six players down due to COVID-19 but they refused to let that stop them from claiming a 72-point win over North Melbourne at Optus Stadium on Friday night.
The young Dockers (7-1 win-loss) showed they can lose some bodies and find workable replacements leading from start to finish against the struggling Kangaroos (1-7).
Andrew Brayshaw was a force in the midfield.Credit:Getty Images
Andrew Brayshaw (34 disposals, seven tackles) was a force in midfield as was Will Brodie (37 disposals), Caleb Serong and ruckman Sean Darcy while Heath Chapman led the Dockers’ rebounding defence to one of its most assured performances this season keeping the Kangaroos to just three goals, all of them after a goal-less first quarter.
The Kangaroos will also be sweating over the health of star defender Ben McKay who went over on his knee in the second half and left the ground in some discomfort, while it didn’t appear to be an anterior cruciate ligament injury, McKay was subbed out in the final term and will need further tests.
Fremantle also lost impressive forward Sam Switkowski (two goals, six tackles) late in the match after he staggered off after Kangaroos star Jason Horne-Francis’ knee went into the back of his head when the North rookie attempt to take a speccy over him.
Horne-Francis looked horrified as Switkowski lay on the ground and then relieved when the Dockers forward was able to leave the field under his own power before being subbed out with a concussion.
The quality of Fremantle’s ball movement stood out early in the match when defender Luke Ryan took an intercept mark at in the defensive 50m arc, kicked a stab pass to David Munday at centre-half-back which saw Munday find Amiss with a perfectly placed pass in the centre square then Amiss find Liam Henry, who passed to Michael Walters who hit big man Sean Darcy for a mark in the pack.
Darcy went back and kicked the goal and it was clear the Dockers were not going to lose – that level of precision passing will bring plenty of admirers for this emerging Dockers group who play with desire and can execute their skills under pressure.
That sort of assuredness is something North Melbourne would desperately love right now as their forays forward so often ended in a skill error or an intercept mark as they don’t yet have the skill or understanding to move the ball cleanly at AFL level.
It’s hard to fault the effort of the Roos but it is fair to question their poise, their ability to run to accessible areas for their teammates and how they can create more opportunities to score as they were few and far between on this night.
Zurhaar takes flight
Cameron Zurhaar is always a threat to take to the sky and he came up with a classic speccy mark in the second quarter.
The Kangaroos key forward climbed on top of the shoulders of teammate Todd Goldstein and pulled in the mark, the veteran ruckman might be a little disappointed his fellow Roo didn’t choose to climb on Fremantle ruckman Sean Darcy who was standing alongside him.
Zurhaar played on and tried to snap a goal but was called back. He still kept his nerve and kicked the goal
It was one of the rare highlights for the Kangaroos and could be a mark of the year chance. Zurhaar finished with two goals.
Not so shy Jye
Fremantle gave first-round pick Jye Amiss his debut and the No.8 pick showed promise from the opening minutes finding himself one-out in the forward line and bumping opponent Aidan Corr out of the way and taking a mark 40 metres from goal.
The 18-year-old left-footer went back and went on his stuttering run-up before slotting the goal with his first kick in AFL football with his family celebrating wildly in a corporate box.
“I couldn’t wait to get out here after captain’s run on Thursday,” Amiss told Fox Footy.
“I didn’t expect that first goal to happen like that but it was fun to have the boys get around me.
“This was a dream come true.”
The Busselton, Western Australia native and former East Perth goal-kicker showed some other assured touches finishing with two goals. On first viewing looks like he could be a very efficient foil for full-forward Matt Taberner.
The Dockers received the pick used on Amiss as part of Adam Cerra’s trade to Carlton and while he has a lot of work to do, he looks someone who could make a difference for Fremantle both this year and beyond.
8 Andrew Brayshaw
8 Heath Chapman
8 Will Brodie
7 Sean Darcy
7 Caleb Serong
Fremantle: Brayshaw, Chapman, Brodie, Darcy, Serong, Switkowski.
North Melbourne: Davies-Uniacke, Thomas, McKay, Horne-Francis, McDonald, Zurhaar.
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