Fremantle pulled off an amazing upset at the MCG on Saturday night, defeating the highly-fancied Geelong by 16 points. The Dockers stunned the reigning premiers with a knock-out opening term, kicking 5.7 to the Cats' solitary point, leaving Geelong to play catch-up football for the remainder of the night.
The win was Fremantle's first in a final outside of Western Australia, and the result is surely the biggest finals upset in many seasons. Skipper Matthew Pavlich was brilliant for the Dockers, kicking six goals and standing tall whenever Geelong threatened to work its way back into the match. The captain received fine support from serial pest Hayden Ballantyne (14 disposals, three goals).
Sustained pressure applied by the Dockers in the first term forced uncharacteristic fumbles and poor disposals from the Geelong players. Pavlich was the early beneficiary of Fremantle's good work, kicking his side's first two goals and three for the opening quarter. Shellshocked Cats players were seen arguing amongst themselves and gesticulating angrily as they head towards their quarter-time huddle.
When the second quarter began, many expected that the Cats would respond to the six-goal deficit immediately but instead it was the Dockers, through Matthew de Boer and Clancee Pearce who kicked the first two goals of the term, leaving Geelong trailing, incredibly, 3 to 51 after 15 minutes. Andrew Mackie finally produced the Cats' first goal at the 18-minute mark, which sparked a mini-revival as Joel Selwood and Mitch Duncan kicked another each over the next four minutes. But Michael Walters steadied for Fremantle and the Dockers went into half-time with a commanding 34-point buffer.
Goals to Steven Motlop and Matthew Stokes cut the margin to just 20 points after eight minutes had elapsed in the third term but the Dockers showed themselves to be a steely outfit under Ross Lyon, as they kicked four of the next five goals.
The 38-point deficit looked likely to be a bridge too far at three-quarter time but to their credit the Cats continued to come at Fremantle, with goals to Mackie and Allen Christensen reducing the gap to 24 points. Ballantyne kicked a steadier but Geelong came again and a pair of Josh Hunt goals brought the Cats to within 17 points at the 21-minute mark. With plenty of time remaining, some expected that the Dockers would fold under the immense pressure being applied but Matthew Pavlich, who moments earlier looked to be struggling as he received attention to his leg on the boundary line, put the result doubt as he calmly slotted his sixth goal.
The efforts of Pavlich and Ballantyne were complemented by Michael Barlow (27 possessions and 11 tackles), while Geelong's best included captain Joel Selewood (28 disposals, 5 tackles, 1 goal) and Jimmy Bartel (26 touches, 8 tackles).
The win will be seen by many as justification of Fremantle's controversial pre-season decision to dump Mark Harvey and replace him with Ross Lyon.
Meanwhile Geelong's loss was a sad end to the 284-game career of Matthew Scarlett, who will be remembered as one of his club's greatest players and a hero of his club's greatest era.
Geelong: Mackie , Hunt 2; Christensen, Duncan, Motlop, Selwood, Stokes, Vardy, Taylor
Fremantle: Pavlich 6; Ballantyne 3; Walters 2; Crowley, De Boer, Pearce
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Geelong: Selwood, Mackie, Bartel, T Hunt, Taylor, J Hunt
Fremantle: Pavlich, Mundy, McPhee, Walters, Barlow, Hill, Dawson
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Geelong: Selwood, Bartel, Corey, Mackie, Duncan
Fremantle: Pavlich, Barlow, Mundy, McPhee, Walters
Chris Scott (Geel): We were really disappointed with the start. If we are going to look on the bright side, the last three quarters was a bit more the way we wanted to play. They were better around the ball and delivered the ball inside 50 really well. We executed our skills quite poorly. It's hard when you give a quality side like that such a big start. We'll though a really thorough review, not only of this game but our whole season obviously. We're all extremely disappointed... but there is, as strange as it sounds, a sense of optimism.
Ross Lyon (Frem): I'm rapt for the players, who have been preparing extraordinarily well since I walked in the door. They're getting some reward for effort. It was a fantastic win. We made some really good decisions with the ball and lowered our eyes really well. As we know, the ball's bounced next week and tonight counts for nothing but it certainly builds the belief to come interstate [and win]. Geelong kept coming and which is good for our group to understand that's what makes them great and that's where we want to head to.
UMPIRES: Bannister, Pannell, Rosebury
|3||Bartel, Jimmy||13||5||13||26||0||0||0||8||2||1||28y 279d||225||148|
|35||Chapman, Paul||13||1||6||19||0||0||0||8||2||1||30y 308d||243||324|
|28||Christensen, Allen||10||2||8||18||1||3||0||4||3||1||21y 112d||36||27|
|11||Corey, Joel||9||3||12||21||0||0||0||12||2||1||30y 204d||254||74|
|22||Duncan, Mitch||11||5||8||19||1||1||0||2||1||0||21y 90d||51||50|
|44||Enright, Corey||15||2||11||26||0||0||0||3||0||1||30y 360d||244||53|
|26||Hawkins, Tom||4||3||5||9||0||2||1||0||0||0||24y 49d||101||169|
|8||Hunt, Josh||8||2||3||11||2||2||0||3||1||2||30y 178d||186||26|
|19||Hunt, Taylor||10||4||8||18||0||0||0||2||1||1||21y 308d||41||10|
|9||Kelly, James||12||1||3||15||0||0||0||7||0||1||28y 254d||213||77|
|13||Lonergan, Tom||3||2||3||6||0||1||0||1||0||1||28y 114d||97||47|
|4||Mackie, Andrew||13||5||8||21||2||1||0||4||0||1||28y 32d||173||80|
|32||Motlop, Steven||3||0||4||7||1||0||0||7||0||0||21y 180d||27||28|
|21||Murdoch, Jordan||2||0||0||2||0||0||0||1||1||0||20y 169d||8||4|
|31||Podsiadly, James||7||3||6||13||0||0||1||3||2||0||30y 364d||60||136|
|30||Scarlett, Matthew||6||1||4||10||0||0||0||2||0||0||33y 95d||284||17|
|14||Selwood, Joel||13||2||15||28||1||0||1||5||3||0||24y 105d||135||61|
|46||Simpkin, Jonathan||8||2||1||9||0||0||0||1||0||0||24y 316d||4||1|
|27||Stokes, Mathew||4||1||10||14||1||0||0||4||2||1||27y 291d||131||180|
|7||Taylor, Harry||7||3||6||13||1||1||0||3||1||1||26y 88d||112||23|
|36||Vardy, Nathan||3||2||1||4||1||0||7||2||0||0||21y 75d||11||8|
|12||West, Trent||8||3||4||12||0||0||21||4||2||0||24y 327d||41||18|
|1||Ballantyne, Hayden||10||5||4||14||3||1||0||4||1||2||25y 54d||64||96|
|21||Barlow, Michael||12||6||15||27||0||1||0||11||1||1||24y 265d||45||27|
|26||Bradley, Kepler||9||5||2||11||0||0||8||1||1||1||26y 300d||112||80|
|15||Crowley, Ryan||8||3||10||18||1||0||0||6||1||2||28y 187d||138||98|
|3||Dawson, Zac||5||2||3||8||0||0||0||1||0||0||26y 199d||94||6|
|40||de Boer, Matt||7||6||11||18||1||1||0||5||1||0||22y 182d||75||29|
|41||Duffield, Paul||16||4||4||20||0||0||0||5||0||4||27y 216d||110||23|
|7||Fyfe, Nat||12||4||8||20||0||0||0||0||1||2||20y 356d||49||35|
|32||Hill, Stephen||16||5||5||21||0||1||0||4||0||0||22y 130d||88||53|
|5||Ibbotson, Garrick||9||1||6||15||0||0||0||3||0||0||24y 177d||101||19|
|37||Johnson, Michael||7||3||2||9||0||1||1||4||0||0||27y 324d||148||54|
|23||Mayne, Chris||10||5||5||15||0||0||0||8||0||0||23y 311d||80||97|
|9||McPhee, Adam||14||11||4||18||0||0||0||0||0||1||29y 338d||222||112|
|16||Mundy, David||16||3||5||21||0||0||0||6||0||1||27y 50d||163||64|
|13||Mzungu, Tendai||5||3||5||10||0||1||0||2||1||1||26y 193d||37||24|
|29||Pavlich, Matthew||12||9||2||14||6||0||0||2||1||0||30y 252d||278||557|
|46||Pearce, Clancee||11||5||6||17||1||0||0||5||1||2||21y 321d||49||29|
|31||Sandilands, Aaron||3||2||8||11||0||0||35||0||0||0||29y 277d||182||72|
|36||Silvagni, Alex||4||3||1||5||0||0||0||4||0||4||24y 345d||28||5|
|34||Spurr, Lee||10||3||4||14||0||0||0||2||1||2||25y 43d||12||0|
|8||Suban, Nick||4||1||0||4||0||0||0||0||1||0||22y 122d||61||17|
|38||Walters, Michael||11||5||4||15||2||2||0||4||2||0||21y 245d||20||33|