Inaccurate Suns eclipse sloppy Dockers
A week is a long time in football. Just ask the Fremantle Football Club, after they suffered a humbling defeat at the hands of the Gold Coast Suns.
In a game riddled with errors, Gold Coast were the better team to adapt to the greasy ground conditions, prevailing at the death after kicking the last three goals of the match.
Some players stood head and shoulders above their teammates, while others will see their heads on the selection chopping block next week.
The Mongrel looks at the heroes and zeroes in the Suns’ nail biting victory.
They talk about defining moments in AFL football. Almost every goal Alex Sexton kicked against the Dockers made a huge impact on the game. Finishing with a bag of four snags, Sexton was a buzzing influence across the Suns forward line.
Not only did Sexton work forward of centre, he also put in the hard yards to neutralise contests from the wing all the way to the Dockers attacking zone. In a game which was won in the clinches, it was critical a young team like the Suns were able to crack in hard against their senior opposition. Kudos to Alex Sexton for starting his 2019 season with an absolute bang.
A captain’s performance from David Swallow and it was only fitting that he kicked the goal which gave his team the lead and ultimately the win. Racking up 30 possessions, five tackles and five marks, Swallow willed his team over the line.
The Suns foundation player has seen the best and worst of AFL football, enduring seasons of misery and pain, but his determination to stick fat on the coast may start paying dividends. After being elected the Suns skipper at the beginning of the season, it’s clear the big-bodied midfielder is driving a fresh culture at the Suns, one that isn’t just about being competitive but also one focused on winning big games. A big tick to David Swallow for a best on ground display in this evening’s clash, which was quite amazing considering the state he was in at the conclusion of the game against St Kilda.
After some off-field issues had threatened to curtail his Dockers career, Bradley Hill has responded to his critics in the best way possible, winning the ball and lots of it. Hill had 32 touches against the Suns, 25 of those kicks, and almost all of his kicks giving the Dockers forward an opportunity to capitalise.
Hill is well known as a running machine and this was evidenced against the Suns, as he ran around the paddock impacting a plentiful number of contests. The number nine is a good chance to take home the Dockers best and fairest this season if he continues down this path of strong form.
There was a sense of irony as the Dockers made one last flurry forward, hoping for a contested mark and a shot after the siren to steal a win. As Cameron McCarthy flew to the heavens and tried to be the hero, a man by the name of Sam Collins stood taller.
Collins was delisted by the Dockers after playing just a handful of games and the game saving mark would have be made extra sweet by this fact. Aside from a fantastic contested mark at the finish, Collins had a terrific game, dominating one-on-one contests and providing a calm presence down back. Credit to Stuart Dew’s team for picking up the ex-Docker from the VFL. He is certainly going to be an important factor if the Suns are to aim for higher success.
A controversial zero that is sure to generate plenty of debate. Fyfe may have racked up 31 touches against the Suns but it’s time his leadership qualities were seriously questioned. As David Swallow rallied his troops across the line, Fyfe seemed self-focused on winning his own ball and didn’t show any regard towards the predicament his team was in.
Captains can be good players but they must firstly be good leaders. Fyfe has plenty of talents, but is leadership really one of them? I highly doubt it is after seeing body language from a player which irked of self-indulgence rather than selflessness.
Frankly put, the Dockers big man had an absolute shocker. Fremantle didn’t recruit the former GWS ruckman to accumulate seven disposals, 11 hit outs and a behind. I am a big fan of Rory but I sense he may need a stint in the WAFL to regain some confidence in his own ability. His efforts today suggest the man is torn between what he wants his game style to be. For Lobb and the Dockers sake, let’s hope he can turn it around in the coming weeks.
I am still trying to work out how Ballard ended up on an AFL list after watching his last couple of performances at AFL level. The Suns defender looked out of sorts again, missing targets by foot and struggling to compete in isolated contests.
Perhaps the young man is still warming to the level of competition, or potentially nerves are getting the better of him. Either way, Ballard certainly needs to work on his disposal efficiency if he wants to retain his place in a Suns side which is going to create headaches at the selection table.
The Suns forward line.
Gold Coast may have taken the chocolates but they almost lost it for themselves through some appalling shots at goal. In the third quarter alone the Suns registered a record eight behinds in a row, keeping the Dockers in the game when they seemingly should have put the result to bed.
No doubt the goal kicking coach will have his work cut out for him with the Suns forward arsenal on the training track this week.
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