AFL 2 years ago

Dogs Disappoint: Bulldogs Stumble In Perth As Fremantle Farewell Club Champion In Style

Western Bulldogs   2.4    4.9     6.12     6.13.49
Fremantle                  4.1    7.2      9.3      10.9.69


Western Bulldogs: Dickson 3, Smith 2, Dahlhaus
Fremantle: Walters 2, Neale, D. Pearce, Hill, Mundy, De Boer, Pavlich, Apeness, Yarran

Alex Docherty's Best

Western Bulldogs: M. Boyd, Dahlhaus, Dunkley, Jong, Dickson, Bontempelli
Fremantle: Neale, Ibbotson, D. Pearce, Hill, Sandilands, Pavlich, Weller

The Western Bulldogs have ended season 2016 on a disappointing note, going down to 16th-placed Fremantle by 20 points in a scrappy, yet ,shocking upset at Domain Stadium. 

With wins to Hawthorn, West Coast and Greater Western Sydney throughout the weekend, the Dogs knew by half time they were destined to finish 7th on the ladder and consigned to another visit to Perth in less than a fortnight's time to take on West Coast in a cut-throat elimination final in a rare Thursday night game.

But with that said, the Bulldogs were absolutely horrendous by foot, only going at 46 percent, and often found themselves fumbling and slipping over and in all honesty, deserved to be the second-best team on the day. 

Fremantle celebrated the career of Matthew Pavlich and his team mates were determined to get the win for arguably Fremantle's best player in the brief history of the Fremantle Football Club, and from the word go, they looked the better of the two sides.

Luke Beveridge said post-game that he couldn't 'find a positive' from the loss, and it wasn't hard to see why, regardless who they were missing Too many Fremantle players got goals from out the back door, the Dogs only managed 49 points against one of the worst defences of the league and the Dogs simply lacked the intensity and hunger for the ball that had been there for most of the year.  If they bring that to Thursday week against the Eagles, particuarly over there in Western Australia, it's not going to be a pretty end to the Doggies' 2016 campaign.

Leading The Way

Their weren't a lot of Bulldog players that had great games but their were definitely a few that battled to the final siren. Matthew Boyd was easily the Bulldogs' best player, with 35 disposals, seven rebound 50s, seven marks and six inside 50s and is enjoying another stellar season in the back-half. Luke Dahlhaus also broke through the 30-disposal barrier, with 31 disposals, as well as four marks, four tackles and a goal.

I thought Josh Dunkley tried hard all match, with 18 disposals and 13 tackles. Unfortunately he was one of the many Bulldogs who had terrible disposal efficiency, going at 55 percent, but he definitely was not alone Lin Jong was another that tried hard and managed 28 possessions and six marks and Tory Dickson kicked three goals from limited opportunities.

Marcus Bontempelli had 27 disposals, but faced a hard tag all game long from Tom Sheridan and struggled to make a huge impact on the game, Jason Johannisen also had 27 disposals, along with six rebound 50s, but his disposal efficiency let him down, only going at 52 percent, Caleb Daniel's efficiency was unusually poor, as he had 23 disposals at only 56 percent.

The Opposition

Unlike the Bulldogs, Fremantle had a number of standout players that stood up in the final game of the season. Despite losing the disposal count (434-418), clearances (35-34) and contested possessions (147-125) It was the Dockers who made the most out of their opportunities, given both sides had 13 scoring opportunities.w

It was a day all about Matthew Pavlich, as he signed off in fine style after 353 games and 17 seasons with the Fremantle Dockers. He kicked his 700th goal in the first quarter with a goal from the goal-square for his first, and only, major of the day. He squandered numerous chances to add to the tally later in the game, but he stll had a fine performance, with 20 disposals, 10 marks and six inside 50s.

Lachie Neale was again a standout performer in the middle for Freo, at the start of the match he only needed 21 disposals to surpass the record that was set by Matthew Boyd in 2011 for most disposals in a season at the start of the game. He finished with 36 disposals as well as 10 clearances and a goal, whilst the defensive pair of Garrick Ibbotson and Danyle Pearce both had fine games. Ibbotson had 29 disposals, 14 marks and five rebound 50s and Pearce had 31 disposals, 12 marks, five rebound 50s and five inside 50s.

Stephen Hill also starred with 30 disposals, nine marks, four rebound 50s and a goal, Lachie Weller was also prominent with 26 disposals, eight marks and four rebound 50s, and Aaron Sandilands returned in the ruck in fine style, recording 35 hitouts, 15 disposals and five clearances to clearly get on top of Will Minson in the ruck duel.

On To The Finals

The Bulldogs, like the other seven teams vying for the 2016 premiership, get the week off before they come back to the Domain Stadium turf to take on the West Coast Eagles on Thursday night, and while it's an uphill battle taking on the Eagles on their own ground, the bye gives the Dogs a chance to reassess the lineup and give a few of the injured stars a chance to return for arguably the biggest game of the season for the Doggies.

The winner of that match will be scheduled to play the loser of the Geelong/Hawthorn qualifying final in a semi-final almost set to be held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground

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