Australian Football

AustralianFootball.com Celebrating the history of the great Australian game

 

Essendon vs Fremantle

Scoreboard | Match report | Match statistics

Round: 23   Venue: Docklands   Date: Sun, 27-08-2017 1:10 pm   Crowd: 42,665  
Essendon 4.3.278.5.5314.8.9216.11.107 C:  John Worsfold
Fremantle 3.1.195.3.339.6.6014.8.92 C:  Ross Lyon
  ESS by 8ESS by 20ESS by 32ESS by 15  
Weather
min temp  5.8°C      max temp  10.7°C
rainfall  7.8mm    humidity  59%    air pressure  1023.5mb
wind speed 17km/h      wind direction  NNW
Brownlow Medal 3 Zach Merrett (ESS)2 Dyson Heppell (ESS)1 Nat Fyfe (FREO)

Match Report

On paper, Essendon's match against Fremantle on Sunday loomed as a straightforward affair. The Bombers would surely win against a side that had lost each of its past two matches by 104 points, thereby claiming a place in the finals. But last-round matches that can make or break sides historically have produced more than their fair of upsets. Indeed only a day before this match, Melbourne had left itself at the mercy of other teams after 'fluffing its lines' against Collingwood. 

As it turned out the Dons did get over the line, but not without many nervous moments, with the Dockers making a lie out of recent form and pushing them all the way. As late as 19 minutes into the final term, Fremantle was still within 10 points and it was not until James Stewart kicked his fourth goal of the match that Essendon ensured its place in its first finals campaign since 2014. 

Early indications in this match were that Fremantle was heading for a thumping of similar magnitude to the previous two weeks, with the Bombers kicking three goals in the proverbial blink of an eye, one each to Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, Stewart and Tom Bellchambers. But the Dockers settled from there and were indeed the better side over the last 25 minutes of the term, adding three goals to one to trail by just eight points at the first end-change.

Essendon started the second quarter in a similar vein to the first with two goals to Zach Merrett in the opening three minutes seeing their lead back out to 20 points. But Fremantle bounced back again, with majors to Matt Taberner and Jonathon Griffin again cutting the deficit back to eight. Both teams' defences got on top from there, and only two further goals were scored before half time, one each to Bombers Joe Daniher and Joshua Begley and the home side was relatively comfortably ahead by 20 points at the long break. 

The status quo was preserved for the first 10 minutes of the third term, each side adding 1.1, but consecutive goals to the Dockers in the space of 90 seconds - one each to Brennan Cox and Tommy Sheridan - had the margin back to eight points and the nerves of Essendon fans and players alike jangling. The tide turned midway through the quarter, however, and a burst of five majors in a row to the Dons suddenly saw them jump to a 38-point lead. A late goal to Docker Hayden Ballantyne cut it back to 32 at the final turn, but the Bombers looked to be heading towards a certain finals berth.

However, there was to a classic last-quarter final-round twist in this tale. The Dockers came out all guns blazing in their final term of 2017, and in this space of 12 minutes, goals to Taberner, Harley Bennell, Hayden Crozier and Ballantyne had the visitors back within eight points and Bomber fans quaking in their boots. Essendon steadied briefly with a goal to Heath Hocking, but a great mark and goal to Cox had Fremantle back within 10 points after 18 minutes. Finally, a crumbing goal to Stewart - his fourth, settled the home side's nerves and the Dons played out time, eventually prevailing by 15 points.

Merrett's four goals and 31 possessions went a long way to ensuring the Bombers got home in the end, while Brendon Goddard (15 marks, 32 touches) and Dyson Heppell (30 disposals, five marks) were also excellent. For the Dockers, Griffin (32 hitouts, two goals), Nat Fyfe (24 disposals, six tackles) and David Mundy (10 tackles, 25 touches) played fine games. 

The Bombers will head to the SCG on Saturday week to take on Sydney in a cutthroat final. The Swans will start hot favourites, but the Dons will take confidence from the fact that they finished within a whisker of Sydney at the venue in round 14.

For Fremantle, 2017 was a mixed bag. The Dockers doubled their 2016 win total from four to eight, but their worst saw them thrashed by a three-figure margin on three occasions. Ross Lyon has embarked on a team rebuild, and it might be another year or more before we see Fremantle challenging for finals again.

GOALS
Essendon: Merrett, Stewart 4; Daniher, Hocking 2; McDonald-Tipungwuti, Bellchambers, Begley, Laverde
Fremantle: Griffin, Fyfe, Sheridan, Taberner, Ballantyne, Cox 2; Bennell, Crozier

BEST - AFL.COM.AU
Essendon: Merrett, Goddard, Watson, Zaharakis, Heppell, Stewart
Fremantle: Fyfe, Mundy, Neale, Ryan, Griffin

BEST - THE AGE
Essendon: Merrett, Goddard, Watson, Baguely, Kelly, Daniher, Stewart, Bellchambers, Heppell
Fremantle: Fyfe, Mundy, Neale, Sheridan, S Hill, B Hill, Taberner, Cox

INJURIES
Essendon: Hooker (calf, replaced by Hocking)
Fremantle: Nil

UMPIRES: Kamolins, Ryan, Mollison 

TELEVISION BROADCAST: Fox Footy

COMMENTATORS: Dwayne Russell, Jason Dunstall, Jonathan Brown, Cameron Mooney

Source

Match Report by Andrew Gigacz

Match stats

Essendon Match Stats Career
# Player K M H D G B HO T FF FA Age Games G
29 Ambrose, Patrick 11 8 4 15 0 0 0 2 2 0 25y 360d 59 20
12 Baguley, Mark 17 9 8 25 0 0 0 4 4 2 30y 98d 103 3
16 Begley, Josh 5 5 1 6 1 1 0 1 0 0 19y 55d 2 3
2 Bellchambers, Tom 6 10 10 16 1 0 38 1 1 1 28y 49d 92 62
32 Colyer, Travis 11 6 6 17 0 0 0 2 1 0 26y 3d 78 52
6 Daniher, Joe 10 5 2 12 2 3 2 2 3 3 23y 176d 92 170
8 Gleeson, Martin 17 9 6 23 0 0 0 1 1 0 23y 2d 68 5
9 Goddard, Brendon 21 15 11 32 0 0 0 1 1 2 32y 99d 311 157
36 Hartley, Michael 7 4 5 12 0 0 0 1 1 0 24y 81d 36 1
21 Heppell, Dyson 16 7 14 30 0 1 0 5 3 0 25y 105d 128 44
39 Hocking, Heath 6 4 3 9 2 0 0 1 0 1 29y 243d 126 45
47 Kelly, James 10 6 13 23 0 0 0 5 0 0 33y 241d 312 90
33 Laverde, Jayden 6 4 2 8 1 0 0 3 0 0 21y 137d 23 14
43 McDonald-Tipungwuti, Anthony 9 2 6 15 1 0 0 4 1 0 24y 127d 43 42
1 McGrath, Andrew 6 3 15 21 0 0 0 0 1 0 19y 86d 20 1
45 McKenna, Conor 14 3 7 21 0 0 0 2 1 0 21y 152d 32 10
7 Merrett, Zach 21 6 10 31 4 1 0 4 2 0 21y 328d 80 31
23 Myers, David 8 4 11 19 0 1 0 2 0 1 28y 58d 99 28
3 Parish, Darcy 7 3 9 16 0 0 0 7 0 1 20y 33d 39 13
17 Stewart, James 9 4 4 13 4 0 0 0 0 1 23y 176d 33 40
4 Watson, Jobe 11 2 15 26 0 1 0 3 5 1 32y 200d 219 113
11 Zaharakis, David 14 6 11 25 0 0 0 6 1 2 27y 187d 169 112
  Rushed   3  
  Totals 242 125 173 415 16 11 40 57 28 15 25y 186d 2164 1056
Fremantle Match Stats Career
# Player K M H D G B HO T FF FA Age Games G
1 Ballantyne, Hayden 10 4 4 14 2 1 0 3 0 2 30y 42d 151 232
13 Bennell, Harley 10 4 3 13 1 1 0 0 0 1 24y 329d 83 95
40 Collins, Sam 3 2 7 10 0 0 2 2 1 0 23y 73d 14 0
36 Cox, Brennan 6 6 5 11 2 0 6 1 0 0 19y 14d 10 4
17 Crozier, Hayden 6 2 5 11 1 1 0 2 2 2 23y 246d 69 44
7 Fyfe, Nat 9 2 15 24 2 0 0 6 1 4 25y 343d 138 121
12 Griffin, Jonathon 5 1 3 8 2 0 32 4 1 0 31y 225d 97 36
21 Hamling, Joel 8 5 5 13 0 0 0 0 3 1 24y 140d 45 0
9 Hill, Bradley 14 5 5 19 0 0 0 3 0 0 24y 49d 117 71
32 Hill, Stephen 13 4 6 19 0 0 0 1 1 4 27y 118d 190 108
15 Hughes, Ethan 6 4 10 16 0 0 0 0 1 0 22y 263d 24 1
37 Johnson, Michael 10 4 4 14 0 0 0 3 1 0 32y 311d 231 65
22 Kersten, Shane 5 2 3 8 0 0 0 3 0 3 24y 165d 57 65
16 Mundy, David 9 4 16 25 0 0 0 10 1 1 32y 38d 272 110
27 Neale, Lachie 10 5 14 24 0 0 0 3 1 0 24y 95d 113 57
38 Ryan, Luke 12 5 5 17 0 0 0 5 1 2 21y 202d 11 0
11 Sheridan, Tommy 7 1 4 11 2 0 0 1 0 1 23y 303d 68 22
8 Suban, Nick 4 4 8 12 0 0 0 8 1 1 27y 110d 156 60
33 Sutcliffe, Cam 9 4 6 15 0 0 0 3 0 2 25y 96d 100 16
20 Taberner, Matt 9 9 5 14 2 1 0 0 0 4 24y 71d 53 52
18 Tucker, Darcy 6 3 5 11 0 0 0 4 0 0 20y 216d 31 11
14 Weller, Lachie 8 1 8 16 0 0 0 2 0 0 21y 185d 47 17
  Rushed   4  
  Totals 179 81 146 325 14 8 40 64 15 28 25y 82d 2077 1187

Footnotes

* Behinds calculated from the 1965 season on.
+ Score at the end of extra time.