This game was held down in Launceston, where Freo had never managed to win a game, despite having played there more often than most Melbourne-based clubs combined. However, this looked like a good opportunity for Freo to fix that. The team was coming off a good run in the pre-season cup, having made the semi-finals there for the first time, and for once the weather forecast didn't include any mention of snowfall, so the conditions were closer to suiting Freo than usual.
The game started out with Freo getting plenty of the ball, but spending all their time just chipping it around. This was caused by the fact that both coaches were happy to play two or three extra players in defense. Or so the commentators told me - its a bit hard to see that sort of thing on TV. Overall, though, I was pretty happy with the way the first quarter went. Freo finished a goal ahead, which was reasonable given that they had been kicking into the wind.
The second quarter started pretty well too. Freo won the ball straight out of the centre, got it down to Pavlich, who only managed a point, but it looked like we were going to see some more direct footy from Freo now that they had the breeze. Freo did manage the first goal of the quarter, via Longmuir, but after that it was, well not quite all Hawthorn, but they definitely had the better of the quarter. Freo wasted chances with shots from a fair way out, while Hawthorn generally made the most of their opportunities,a nd wound up with a 5 point lead at half time.
The third quarter was where the game was won and lost. Hawthorn completely dominated the centre square. Sandliands seemed to win his share of the ruck knocks, but whether he won or not, it was always Hawthorn that came away with the ball. Despite that, McPharlin managed to kick two goals for the quarter. On the other hand, Hawthorn kicked 9 goals for the quarter, and a goal from Spider Everitt on the siren meant that they werte 7 goals ahead at 3/4 time.
Hawthorn just carried on as they had been going for the first part of the last quarter. They kicked the first 3 goals of the quarter to get out to near enough to 10 goals ahead, and Williams made it to 8 goals for the game. Given that I had finished cleaning the fish tank by now, I was a bit unsure that I actually wanted to sit and watch the rest of the game. Fortunately I did, as Freo kicked the last 6 goals of the game to give me some amusemnt, and to put some respectability into the scoreline. Farmer and Medhurst kicked two goals each during this period, which kind of left me wondering what they had been doing for the rest of the day.
Parker played on Williams throughout the game. Given that Williams kicked 8 goals, I have read some commentary that Parker had a bad day. Certainly, I can make the argument that Connolly could maybe have tried someone else in the role, but I don't think Parker deserves too much of the blame. Most of Williams's goals came during the half of football when Hawthorn were dominating out of the centre square. The Hawthorn midfield were able to fire the ball into the forward line so quickly that Shane had basically no chance to prevent Williams getting on the end of it.
The radio commentators, and to a lesser extent the TV commentators, were quite scathing about Freo's tactics in this game. I did find them a bit frustrating in the first half, but I was prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt in the first quarter. The game was really lost because of our inability to win the ball out of the centre. Hawthorn pur on a similar performance to blow Brisbane out of the water last season, so thats not exactly unprecedented. Nevertheless, it was kind of disappointing that the big names of Freo's midfield didn't really fire. Both the Carr brothers were pretty much unsighted until the run of goals in the last quarter, and they were the worst for mine, but they weren't alone in being disappointing.
Final Score : Fremantle 13.9-87 lost to Hawthorn 17.7-109
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