(Image source: AFL.com.au)
In a dramatic finals series, Fremantle has pulled off an incredible upset, defeating Geelong by 16 points at the MCG last night.
Outplayed at almost every turn, and stunned by a five goal to none first quarter, the Cats never really looked like they would threaten to produce a massive turnaround. However, despite a spirited five goal last quarter, and a three goal burst early in the second quarter, the Cats could not contain a Fremantle outfit which was helped immensely by the Cats squandering numerous chances.
Inspirational Fremantle Captain Matthew Pavlich capped off an extraordinary night with six goals, with Michael Walters and Hayden Ballantyne providing excellent support, with two and three goals respectively.
It took over forty minutes before Geelong registered a major, while Fremantle had opened up a 41 point lead at the time.
Geelong had been tipped as having a serious chance in contending for a fourth title in six years, but the likes of Pavlich, Ballantyne, ball magnet Michael Barlow, Chris Mayne, Nathan Fyfe and David Mundy quelled any sniff the Cats may have had. Power forward Tom Hawkins was held to just nine disposals and two behinds, having lacked opportunities due to Fremantle’s consistent drive into their own attacking 50.
Geelong’s trouble deepened in the third quarter as James Kelly was reported for a strike on Docker Tendai Mzungu.
Joel Selwood, Mitch Duncan, Andrew Mackie and Jimmy Bartel stood out among a somewhat slow outfit lacking ambition. Michael Walters impressed with two goals for Fremantle, but a late injury to Matthew Pavlich struck worry into the Dockers fans. He returned a short while later to boot a major.
Barlow finished as Fremantle’s leading possession getter with 27, while Joel Selwood returned with 28 and a goal.
The loss sees Geelong’s sixth consecutive finals series cut short at the first hurdle. Fremantle will head to Adelaide to face the Crows in a do-or-die semi final clash. Adelaide’s lost to Sydney in their qualifying final on Saturday sees them teetering on the brink of elimination. For the Cats, who have achieved three premierships since 2007, the big question now is will they still have the grunt for 2013? Geelong defender Matthew Scarlett may have played his last game tonight. However, with backman Josh Hunt roosting a couple of big kicks tonight for two goals, there is still plenty of youth and experience left in the club.
(Stats and image source: AFL.com.au)