AFL Dockers Back In Finals Hunt

Matthew Pavlich kicks the Dockers back into final contention.

Robert Whiteby Robert White

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Matthew Pavlich is the greatest Docker in club history and he collected yet another impressive performance on Sunday in Round 15 to fight off the Western Bulldogs,14.11-95-8.9.57.

It didn’t begin as the classiest of affairs, but Fremantle came out after halftime to thoroughly outplay the Western Bulldogs at home in Perth. Pavlich led a real team effort with a six goal, 21 possession, 10 mark outing, while Chris Mayne was also strong in the forward line with five goals. Fremantle didn’t have any prolific ball getters, but did have nine players gather 20 plus possessions, while also dominating the tackle count, 76-59, and the inside 50s, 54-36.

Fremantle’s win leaves them percentage points out of the eight and have three relatively easy matchups in the upcoming weeks: Melbourne, GWS and Port Adelaide. Star midfielder Nat Fyfe should return towards the end of that stretch while Anthony Morabito is likely to return in the next week or two.

Neither side got off to an impressive start. Turnovers and short chipping possession tactics dampened the excitement, especially early on, but Pavlich was able to get Fremantle’s breakthrough goal at the term’s halfway mark. A Michael Barlow turnover enabled Higgins to kick the Bulldogs first before Mayne bagged just the third goal of the quarter after the siren.

The Bulldogs improved after the break and outscored Fremantle three goals to one, but still found themselves down three-points at the major break.

Two quick consecutive goals by Pavlich to start the third, his third straight dating back to the previous quarter, opened the game up for Fremantle before they poured in four more majors. Tory Dickson kicked two late goals to end the quarter, bringing the margin to within 22, but the Bulldogs were not able to close the gap further in the final quarter.

The Bulldogs are now eliminated from finals contention despite it being just Round 15 in what has been a very disappointing year for the club.