The Sydney Swans have obliterated the Fremantle Football Club in one of the most harrowing defeats in the club’s 22-year history.
The Swans blitzed the first quarter with a stunning display of forward line functionality, opposed to a confused backline.
Fremantle regained some pride during the third quarter, after being 75-points down at half time. The small resurgence was led by Fremantle’s marking forwards, with Taberner and McCarthy showing promising signs, and David Mundy shifting forward.
But the Swans opened the game up as Fremantle tired in the final term, stretching the margin back out to 104 points; their biggest score over the Dockers, and Ross Lyon’s biggest losing margin as a senior coach.
Here are five things we learned.
1 Tall, Tall, Tall, Short
Only a very special forward-line can name 4 tall forwards, two of which consume the bulk of their salary cap, and also boast such an impressive fleet of small forwards.
Papley, Heeney and Hewitt stuck to basics in the pursuit of the ground ball, left at their feet expertly by Tippett, Franklin, Reid, and Sinclair. They were disciplined in staying front and centre of every marking contest, but spread with pace and ease, enabling them to find space in the corridor for the handball over the top.
Will Hayward may well be the most disciplined of the lot, always positioning himself in a position to turn if necessary, and kick one of his 2 goals.
The talls were just as productive kicking 9 goals between them. Franklin and Reid led the way early on, but Tippett showed his talent as the game opened up in the last 20 minutes.
2 Time is Up for Danyle Pearce
Last week it was Jon Griffin, but this is the week that Danyle Pearce may have played his last game of senior football. Like Griffin, Pearce etched a respectable career as a role player in South Australia, but his move from Port Adelaide to the Dockers has always been a struggle, despite being a member of the 2013 Grand Final squad.
Since returning against the Gold Coast last week, Pearce’s ball use has been at a stunning low. He lacks the confidence to take the game on, a trait you need as a rebounding defender.
As a 31-year old, it’s not easy to make drastic changes or improvements, but he either needs to change at least one key aspect of his game or call time on his career before the club does.
3 Someone needs to show some defensive leadership
If Michael Johnson wants to validate his position in the Fremantle defence, he needs to show leadership reflective of his experience. Johnson either failed to organise his troops, a job that Joel Hamling should be relieved of given his matchup on Franklin, or was out of position himself. He often succumbed to the temptation of following his man chasing the ball up through the middle, something he needs to refrain from as he loses pace towards the end of his career.
If not Johnson, the younger players need to take the mantle, although it is unreasonable to expect so early in their careers.
4 Brad Hill is the hardest working Docker
You would be excused for thinking that Brad Hill had missed the flight to Sydney. The enigmatic winger was barely sighted for the majority of the game but ran hard to come sweep in defence and to make an impact through midfield.
Unfortunately, with Hill starting most centre bounces or contested situations on the outside, his success depends on a certain level of skill and effort from those on the inside of the contest.
He wasn’t given that today, with a host of midfielders, including ball magnet Lachie Neale gave a subpar effort, and were poor as a result. The supply to the outside needs to improve next season, that’s where the money has been spent.
5 Buddy is still the best in the business
Being one of four marking forwards, Lance Franklin could have been excused for taking it easy on a warm Saturday afternoon. Instead, the Narrogin product showed a stunning work rate and reaped the rewards of his effort with a goal-haul that will keep him in the hunt for the Coleman.
4 goals has Franklin in 3rd position for the Coleman Medal, 3 behind leader Joe Daniher.
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