Date: Jul 7, 2010
Title: A day to remember
Fremantle vs Port Adelaide... the day Michael Barlow went down...
THIS fixtured match left me dazzled, it has since last October. Fremantle vs Port Adelaide, the only Saturday afternoon game in round 14? Surely not. A game of footy is a game of footy, however. There are not many things I love more than listening to the footy on the radio on a Saturday afternoon. With this, comes the luxury of having a laptop with all the live stats on AFL Match Centre. It would be an interesting audio experience.
Port Adelaide had a slim chance of beating Freo, as the Triple M commentary team outlined before the match. If Port had lost it’d leave them with their worst losing streak in its history - seven. Their chance was worsened as I found out that Boak was a late withdrawal from the lineup, Salter came in. It would be interesting to see how Jay Schulz goes, coming off a seven-goal haul against North Melbourne.
The first quarter was like a picnic for the Dockers, in the bright sunshine. Ballantyne set up Morabito (deserves a nomination soon), who drilled the first goal after roughly two minutes of action. Sandilands, who dominated in the ruck as per usual, tapped it down to Barlow and screwed it around his body from the pocket. The home crowd sounded ecstatic as the Dockers kept on rolling. Hill snapped a third goal - this was all in the first three minutes of playing time. Grover (an unlikely source) kicked another goal, and it was 25 - nothing. Hitchcock snapped a point; Sandilands converted from a 50 metre penalty. Needing a desperate spark, it came from Jay Schulz as he hurled himself over Mundy and took a mark and kicked a much needed goal from a tough angle. 5.4 to 1.1 at the opening change, Barlow lead the charge with nine disposals for the Dockers.
The second quarter renaissance from Port Adelaide came out of nowhere, and before all of that Pavlich extended the margin to 33 points. The familiar talk about Chad Cornes not being capable anymore is brought up. It is some younger and lesser-known Port Adelaide players who step up and provide highlights. Banner, Broadbent and Thomas the main ones. Banner kicked a classy goal on the run, before Carlile, a very unlikely goal kicker, scored another. Motlop weaved through the pack, handpassed it to Thomas who put another one through the sticks. Despite two consecutive goals from the Dockers, Port Adelaide rallied, for once, and kicked another three, none better than one from Danyle Pearce virtually where the 50 metre line intersect the boundary line, which was a delight to watch on the highlights package after the game. The Dockers led by a slim margin of 10 points at the half time break. Grover and Fyfe had left the field with serious injuries, and didn’t return. Rhys Palmer’s 18 possessions in the first half reminded me of how good this guy can be. Banner had 16 for the Power. It would be interesting to see if the Dockers could keep rolling.
Ryan Crowley, rarely mentioned in the first half (only three possessions) popped up and kicked the first goal of the quarter courtesy of some Stephen Hill (I would share the same name with him if I did what Brian Lake did) brilliance. Unbelievably, this was followed by a second and third goal, the latter after receiving head high contact in the goal square. The game turned into a basket-case of missed chances, no goals were scored until the ever-annoying Hayden Ballantyne who drove one through for the Dockers. The Dockers won the quarter 3.4 to 0.4, against the odds, and with a 34-point lead going in to the last quarter a win was near certain. However, it is mentioned on the radio that there is still a breeze going to the “left of the radio dial”.
The last quarter began and Crowley kicked his fourth from 40 out, and the nail was well in the coffin. Hill kicked one, Roberton kicked a fantastic goal. And to top a fantastic second half off, Crowley kicked his fifth. The Dockers have so many capable players on their list, they’re an exciting team to watch (or listen to). But then, Subiaco held their breath as one as Rhys Palmer collided with Michael Barlow, ramming into the leg of the man who has been a revelation. At first, the commentators though he had done a knee. But it was soon revealed that he had broken his leg, as Barlow tried to stand up before falling back down on the surface. It was an almighty blow. When I looked at it later on the replay, it was frightening to watch. The game was played out; Pearce kicked Port’s only second half goal in the dying minutes. Freo won easily, but they lost their gem.
Barlow will be a huge blow for the Dockers in the later stages of the season, but in saying that, I believe that they have plenty of depth in their squad to make up for the absence. Rhys Palmer starred with 31 possessions, nine marks and six clearances in a best on ground performance. But look at all their other young players who played well - Ibbotson, De Boer, Roberton, Hill, Morabito, Ballantyne and Fyfe (before he came off injured). Nic Suban is also available to come back into the side. Another player I’m impressed with is Paul Hasleby. Playing more as a target in the forward line this season, he is starting to play some great footy, and has already kicked 13 goals in his 13 matches this season. Roger Hayden is a defensive stalwart who was been going unnoticed for many years, but he is one of the elite in the competition in my opinion. As for Port Adelaide, they showed no heart in the second half, maybe it’s time for Mark Williams, the man who is Port Adelaide, to give away his coaching duties?
Games between these two sides are usually quickly forgotten. This game, though, will be remembered a lot more by the football public.
Fremantle 5.4 8.7 12.11 17.13 (115)
Port Adelaide 1.1 7.3 7.7 8.10 (58)
Fremantle: Crowley 5, Hill 2, Hasleby 2, Morabito, Barlow, Grover, Sandilands, Ballantyne, Roberton, Mundy, Pavlich.
Port Adelaide: Schulz 2, Pearce 2, Banner, Carlile, Thomas, Ebert.
Fremantle: Palmer, Crowley, Barlow, Duffield, Morabito, Hasleby, Sandilands.
Port Adelaide: Banner, Logan, Thomas.
Umpires: Stevic, Jennings, Pannell.
Crowd: 32,442 at Subiaco.
My Votes: 3. Rhys Palmer (FRE), 2. Ryan Crowley (FRE), 1. Michael Barlow (FRE).