Fremantle’s first half in the elimination final was described as “deplorable” as the Dockers dished up their worst performance of 2022.
But they found some fight in “extraordinary” scenes after looking “dead and buried at quarter time”, according to Fox Footy’s Jason Dunstall.
In their first final since 2015, the Dockers just didn’t get out of the gates and became the first side since Geelong in 2018 to go goalless in the opening term of a final.
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Down the other end, their opponents the Western Bulldogs had five to their name.
Fremantle were held to just one behind for the first quarter – the lowest quarter time score in a final in a decade.
“The Dogs have just taken all the oxygen out of Fremantle’s game,” commentator Alister Nicholson said.
“This has been such a commanding performance.”
And Fremantle looked on track to become the lowest scoring side in a final in almost 100 years as they sat with just three behinds to their name after 20 minutes in the second term.
“At the moment, it’s their decision making and execution of basic skills,” commentator Wayne Carey lamented.
“For (coach Justin) Longmuir to reinforce, ‘we got things back on our terms a bit more … but guys I can’t go out there and mark and kick it for you’.
“Second most efficient team for the year Fremantle, and tonight they’ve been deplorable.”
Down 35 to just 1 at the first break, even second gamer Jye Amiss couldn’t find Freo’s first goal as he slammed his set shot into the post from 15m out on a slight angle.
“The Dogs are on fire. The umpire is probably more likely to stop a goal than the Dockers are at the moment such is the ease they are dominating this contest,” Dunstall said.
“It has been one-way traffic.
“A massive job for the Dockers to get back into this one.
“I think this has caught everyone by surprise.
“The Dogs have gone to school on that loss to the Dockers (in Round 21). They’ve turned this around big time.”
The margin was as big as 41 points in the second term before the Dockers managed three quick goals to spark the crowd to life.
A free kick to Michael Walters for a hold gave the Dockers their first of the night before Andy Brayshaw set sail from 50m and the footy just scraped through.
Caleb Serong added Fremantle’s third and when Amiss made up for his early blunder after the half time siren, suddenly the Dogs lead was just 15 points and the crowd was up and about.
“It’s on now!” Fox Footy’s Brad Johnson said.