Main content

AFLW: Dockers too good for Pies

AFLW Highlights: Freo v Collingwood The Dockers and the Magpies clash in Round 3 of the AFLW

It was the NAB AFL Women's most potent team taking on the lowest-scoring side, and in the end winless Collingwood was no match for a rampant Fremantle on Saturday.

The contest looked one-sided on paper and the Dockers, thriving under new coach Trent Cooper, put the Pies to the sword in another thrilling display of fast-paced football at Fremantle Oval.

Growing in confidence by the week, Fremantle carried on its irresistible form from victories over Melbourne and Brisbane and romped to a 7.9 (51) to 2.6 (18) victory. 

Everything is rosy for the Purple Army, but Collingwood is facing serious questions after slumping to a 0-3 start for the third successive season and again showing an inability to hit the scoreboard.

From three matches, the Magpies have managed to score only 50 points and are now rooted to the bottom of Conference B with a paltry percentage of 49.5.

Meanwhile, high-flying Freo moved a win inside the top-two behind Conference A leader and premiership favourite North Melbourne.

The Roos and Dockers are the only remaining undefeated teams, and a final-round showdown at Fremantle Oval on March 16 looms as potentially decisive contest in the race for a home preliminary final.

The signs were ominous from Freo from the opening passage of play on Saturday, when Stephanie Cain burst through the centre square and delivered long into attack, where star forward Kellie Gibson collected and threaded the eye of the needle from the pocket. 

Only minutes later, the Dockers again showcased their high-octane team football, with Hayley Miller turning on the afterburners from half-back to set up Ebony Antonio for their second.

The Dockers added three goals into the breeze in the second term, holding the Magpies to a solitary behind and went to the rooms up by 31 points and leading inside 50s 23-6. 

Collingwood finally found a morale-boosting major when Sarah D'Arcy took advantage of two 50m penalties early in the third term, and a classy left-footed snap by Jaimee Lambert to start the final term gave the Pies a lift.

However, Freo was far too strong and won three straight matches for the first time in the club's AFLW history, with skipper Kara Donnellan (18 possessions, 12 contested, six clearances) leading from the front.

Parris Laurie (16 disposals, 11 hitouts) played her best game in the ruck in an encouraging display, while star forwards Gibson and Antonio cashed in on a lopsided 42-22 inside 50 count.

Brittany Bonnici (13 disposals) never stopped trying for Collingwood, with D'Arcy (14), Stacey Livingstone (14) and gun Ash Brazill (13) also prominent but the Pies will be licking their wounds on the long flight home. 

The only downside for the Dockers was a match-ending knee injury suffered by debutant Brianna Moyes in the opening term.

Blink and you missed it

The writing was on the wall inside a minute for Collingwood. From the centre square, Fremantle speedster Stephanie Cain received a handball from ruck Parris Laurie, burst straight through the guts and delivered long inside 50, where star forward Kellie Gibson collected and threaded a sensational goal from the pocket. It was a scintillating start, and the Dockers were on their way. 

Winning formula

Fremantle's brand has been overhauled by new coach Trent Cooper, but there's nothing overly tricky about it. The Dockers simply play quick and direct football to give their forwards a chance one-on-one and to use their pace. The problem for opponents is stopping it. Brisbane has been the competition's best defensive team in AFLW history but was overrun by 27 points in round two, and the Pies were powerless to short-circuit Freo's fast footy. The Dockers have been a joy to watch and are thriving on a simple game style.

It was over when…

The Dockers had Collingwood covered in every aspect on Saturday, and the disparity couldn't have been clearer just before half-time. First, the Pies gave away a completely unnecessary and undisciplined 50m penalty for holding, gifting Kiara Bowers a goal from the square instead of a near-impossible set shot from the pocket. Then from the restart Freo skipper Kara Donnellan received a free-kick for holding when Collingwood had the ball going its way. She pumped the ball back into the danger zone and Ebony Antonio thumped through Fremantle's goal from a metre out, extending the margin to an unassailable 31 points at the long break.

Work in progress

Collingwood coach Wayne Siekman will be feeling the heat after a third straight 0-3 start, and questions will begin to be asked if he can't engineer a turnaround similar to last year, when the Magpies won three games in the final month of the season. The visitors sorely missed star vice-captain Emma Grant (shoulder) on Saturday but it is their system, rather than talent, that needs to be addressed. There was a glaring inability to string together chains of possession and threaten the Dockers on their home turf. 

FREMANTLE 2.1 5.3 6.8 7.9 (51)
COLLINGWOOD 0.1 0.2 1.4 2.6 (18)

GOALS
Fremantle: Antonio 2, Gibson 2, Hooker, Bowers, Grieve
Collingwood: D'Arcy, Lambert 

BEST 
Fremantle: Donnellan, Laurie, Antonio, Gibson, Hooker, Miller
Collingwood: D'Arcy, Bonnici, Brazill, Livingstone, Lambert, Dargan 

INJURIES 
Fremantle: Moyes (knee)
Collingwood: Nil

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Baigent, McPhee, Simmonds

Official crowd: 5443 at Fremantle Oval