Collingwood made to pay for wasted early chances in front of goal by Freo.
The Fremantle Dockers have shown exactly why many have tipped them to win the AFL title in season 2014, after their 70-point point thrashing of the Collingwood Magpies at Etihad Stadium.
Fremantle got the best possible start to their 20th season celebrations, as coach Ross Lyon was able to cruise to a 17.14 (116) to 5.16 (46) victory in his 50th game in charge of the Dockers
While many tipped the Pies to come back to the pack somewhat after their clean-out at the end of 2013, the belting at the hands of Freo showed how much work could be in front of coach Nathan Buckley this season.
To begin the game, the Magpies’ captain scored the first goal of the AFL season when Scott Pendlebury captalised on a turnover to slam a low kick through the middle.
Collingwood’s tackling pressure early in the first quarter had the Dockers scrambling several times, in what was a good early sign for the underdogs.
The Pies’ pressure on the ball was telling in that they earned nine clearances to nil in their favour.
Steele Sidebottom and Matthew Pavlich both showed early season rust after bad shots on goal as both sides battled hard to develop an early buffer.
Pies goal to Dane Swan gave the Pies a one-point lead at quarter-time, with both sides playing a high-tempo game, which saw several missed chances at goal.
Pavlich goaled twice early in the second quarter to give his side a handy lead of 13 as the Dockers started to tighten their grip on the game when the ball travelled inside their forward fifty.
Michael Barlow made Collingwood pay for their missed shots in front of goal by kicking well to extend his side’s lead.
The away side took a stranglehold on the game after Freo got a free for Nick Maxwell holding the ball, with Nathan Fyfe snapping around his body as they lead grew to 23.
Collingwood lacked the speed across the ground to match Fremantle in the first half, with the away side’s midfield enjoying a solid start to the season.
Haydn Ballantyne put up an early candidate for goal of the week, as he snapped on his left from deep inside the left forward pocket, in what was the seventh goal in a row for the away side and it has been 37 minutes since the home side scored a major.
Freo added 6.4 for the term as they built a very handy lead of 35 points at the long break.
Ballantyne kicked his third for the game and his side’s first for the second half, in what was a back-breaker of a goal for the Magpies’ chances despite plenty of the game left.
Early in the third term, Freo had nine marks off opponent’s kicks compared to the Magpies three, a sign the away team was able to defuse many potential attacking raids when they presented themselves.
The Dockers continued to pile on the pain on the scoreboard as they showcased why they are one of the teams to beat this season.
While the Magpies, looked a shadow of of their former selves the past five seasons or more, with their drastic clean-out looking to have upset their team ryhthym more than more most could have tipped.
Statistically the Magpies were not that far behind their opponents’, but it was what Fremantle did with possession that separated the sides, with their organisation around contested ball which made some of the difference.
Collingwood finally scored just their fourth goal, amazingly coming 10 minutes into the final term, when Jamie Elliott kicked truly in what was a rare bright moment for the black and whites.
But it was Freo’s game to lose after the first quarter, as they impressed greatly in the first game of the 2014 AFL season.