Match report: Dockers too good for Magpies in Optus Stadium opener

The Fremantle Dockers have claimed their first victory of 2018, downing Collingwood by 13 points in front of 41,975 fans at Optus Oval, which breaks the attendance record for a standalone women’s sporting match at Australia, set back in 1929.

With both sides losing their round one matches, victory was essential for both Fremantle and Collingwood to realistically stick around in the premiership race.

Original image: @freodockers

Despite a bright start, the Magpies were unable to keep up with the powerful Dockers who seemed hungrier at stoppages.

Dana Hooker inspired her side with 20 disposals and two remarkable goals, while Lisa Webb was phenomenal on debut with 17 touches.

But a Fremantle victory looked unlikely considering the start Collingwood got off to, with Emma King starting forward and getting her toe on the ball to kick the first major at Optus Stadium.

Shortly after, Christina Bernardi was spotted all alone 25 metres out, converting to give the Magpies a two-goal lead before you could bat your eyes.

But Fremantle battled back immediately, first through an Ashlee Atkins intercept mark which she converted from 40 metres out, then a remarkable goal from Dana Hooker who danced around her opponent and snapped truly.

Melissa Caulfield was awarded a free kick 30 metres away from goal, and it would be Fremantle somewhat remarkably taking a one-goal lead into the first change.

The turnaround was kick-started by Lisa Webb in defence playing her first game, and Stephanie Cain and Kara Donnellan earned ascendancy in the clinches.

With momentum wearing purple, the Magpies were forced to apply a more defensive approach, dropping numbers behind the ball to stem the flow.

Chloe Molloy, who started brightly after her Rising Star nomination last week, executed a remarkable chase-down tackle, and Bernardi did the work up the other end after her early goal with two strong intercept marks.

But it wasn’t enough to stop Fremantle to adding to the scoreboard, however, with Mel Caulfield spotting up Amy Lavell for the Dockers’ fourth straight.

Though Melissa Kuys was racking up disposals in the back pocket, the Magpies couldn’t get any meaningful movement forward with so many players committed to defence, and Fremantle took a 13-point lead into half-time.

The first half plaudits belonged to Lisa Webb on debut as a rookie selection, who had 11 disposals at half-time and was the main mover of the ball for the Dockers.

The efforts of Ebony Antonio off half-back and the pairing of Lara Filocamo and Dana Hooker in close made it hard for Collingwood to get hands on the ball first.

The second half started as the first ended with Fremantle doing all of the attacking, but it would be Collingwood that ate into the lead.

Having missed a soccered opportunity to kick her second, Bernardi took yet another contested mark, this time straight in front of goal over the top of Evangeline Gooch, to reduce the margin to seven points.

The Dockers would not roll over, however, as Mel Caulfield gathered just outside the goal square to slam home her second.

Jess Duffin continued to stand up against the constant Dockers attacks, but the Magpies simply break through Fremantle’s setup.

Stacey Livingstone had also performed well to keep her side in the contest, but she was taken from the ground nearing the three-quarter time siren with what appeared to be a dislocated shoulder, the same injury she suffered during the first quarter in round one.

The result could’ve been put in the books at the start of the fourth quarter when Hayley Miller blazed away for a point despite having Ashley Sharp on for an easy goal, but Hooker made sure the miss would not be costly.

Her second snapped goal of the day was the best of the two, lifting the onlookers to their feet in celebration as the margin pushed out to 21 points.

The Magpies made hard work of it, but Jaimee Lambert was able to snap a goal to give Collingwood some hope with 10 minutes remaining.

Fremantle made sure the lead would stay at a comfortable distance, however, defending ably to claim the four premiership points.

The victory gets Fremantle’s season back on track after losing comfortably last week, and with star players in Kiara Bowers and Kellie Gibson still to return to the side, the Dockers will be happy with where they stand in the competition.

Considering the statement omission of Moana Hope during the week, this performance did nothing to change the direction of Collingwood’s season as the Pies drop their second game of the season, but it wasn’t all negative.

Jess Duffin and Chloe Molloy look to be a damaging duo in defence despite previously playing their football in the forward line, and Melissa Kuys fought a strong lone battle at stoppages.

But with two losses already, the Magpies need something special to save their season.

 

Fremantle: 3.0, 4.1, 5.3, 6.4 (40)
Collingwood: 2.0, 2.0, 3.1, 4.3 (27)

Goals
Fremantle: Melissa Caulfield 2, Dana Hooker 2, Ashlee Atkins, Amy Lavell
Collingwood: Christina Bernardi 2, Emma King, Jaimee Lambert

Leading disposals
Fremantle: Dana Hooker (20), Lisa Webb (17), Lara Filocamo (16)
Collingwood: Melissa Kuys (21), Jess Duffin (18), Stephanie Chiocci (16),