Tom Boyd of the Bulldogs (left) and Joel Hamling of the Dockers.
Tom Boyd of the Bulldogs (left) and Joel Hamling of the Dockers. RICHARD WAINWRIGHT

Dockers off the mark with upset of premiers

FROM crisis to selection carnage to tears of joy in the space of seven days.

The final siren at Domain Stadium triggered an almighty purple roar followed by disbelief, as Fremantle emerged from their horror slump to knock over the premiers.

The club's rebuild will be a rocky road with more twists and turns to come. But the road is only leading in one direction now.

The titanic 13.11 (89) to 10.13 (73) victory over the Western Bulldogs will be remembered as the night the Dockers finally let go of the past and took a giant stride toward embracing the future.

Down by 14 points at the final change, the script for the last quarter said Fremantle would fold and collect an honourable loss.

The Dockers refused to read it and instead penned a chapter for the next edition of their history book.

Fremantle reprised the energy and purpose they begun the game with, as new captain Nat Fyfe led from the front.

If Fyfe provided the grunt, Michael Walters and Hayden Crozier provided the magic as the Dockers kicked five goals to none to salute.

Crozier and Brady Grey were the most influential of the six inclusions, with Grey's tenacious performance enough to suggest he won't be going back to the rookie list any time soon.

There wasn't a big crowd at Subiaco to witness it, but for those who did it might rank up with some of their most special memories at the ground.

It was overwhelming underdogs against the competition's top dogs, yet the inspired new-look Dockers began as well as they finished to kick the first four goals of the game inside 10 minutes.

Grey got the opener from a raking set shot in a powerful symbolic statement.

Moving the ball with dare and dash, the home side looked cleaner and more confident than at any time in the previous fortnight. Most of all, it looked fun.

Plenty in the crowd rose to their feet to applaud at quarter-time after Fremantle had opened up a surprise 19 point lead.

The visitors had the better of the second term, however the Dockers got the first and last goals of the quarter to keep the upper hand.

It took an extraordinary solo effort from Lachie Hunter to keep the Bulldogs in it. With Marcus Bontempelli restricted to eight first-half touches by tagger Connor Blakely, Hunter had racked up 16 touches and three goals by half-time to lead the way.

The start of the third quarter should have proved critical and it was then the cream appeared to rise to the top.Bontempelli pulled the strings as first Jake Stringer and then Jason Johannisen goaled as the Bulldogs grabbed the lead for the first time.

The Dockers came again, with an unselfish Fyfe giving a goal to Shane Kersten before Walters pounced on an error from Marcus Adams.

Yet the Dogs added five goals to two for the term to grab the ascendancy.

They didn't know what was to come and it's a fair bet even the most optimistic of Fremantle fans didn't know either.

It just made it all the sweeter.

News Corp Australia

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