BRISBANE has ended Fremantle's 11-game winning streak and confirmed its status as a premiership contender, holding on in a thrilling finish to beat the Dockers by 11 points at their Fremantle Oval fortress.
The Lions held the Dockers goalless for almost an entire match before young star Roxy Roux converted a clutch set shot from 45m to cut the margin to five points and set up a thrilling finish with less than two minutes to play.
DOCKERS v LIONS Full match coverage and stats
Brisbane star Ally Anderson stepped up moments later, converting on the run under pressure to seal the 3.7 (25) to 1.8 (14) win, which was the Lions' first at Fremantle Oval since 2017.
It was the Dockers' first loss since the 2019 preliminary final, ending a 12-game winning run at Fremantle Oval that stretches back to round five, 2018.
Both sides were incredibly inaccurate, with the Lions missing an opportunity to put more space between them and their opponents in the third quarter, kicking 1.5 to 0.0.
They won key contests down the stretch, however, with their backline holding up under pressure to give the ladder leaders a 4-1 record.
Brisbane midfielder Emily Bates was a clear best on ground with 26 possessions, three clearances and four inside 50s, using the ball superbly.
The teams could not be separated at the contest, splitting contested possessions 106-106 each, while the Dockers had a slight clearance advantage 21-19.
Freo midfielder Kiara Bowers continued her excellent season with 24 disposals and seven tackles, but the Dockers' inaccuracy in front of goal cost them.
The Dockers are revered for the pressure they put on opponents, but on Saturday they came up against a hungrier Brisbane team that had more energy from the outset. Fremantle coach Trent Cooper highlighted the Lions' 20-6 advantage with tackles inside 50 as a key to the match, with his team unable to match Brisbane's physical approach in front of their own goals. Kara Antonio, Roxy Roux and Sabreena Duffy didn't lay a tackle, with the Dockers' only out-tackling their opponents in one quarter.
Five minutes of madness
The closing stages were frantic as the Lions fought to hold onto an 11-point lead. Star Docker Sabreena Duffy had a chance to cut the margin to five points but missed everything with her set shot before Roux took her opportunity from 45m. Somehow the Dockers had a sniff, despite being outplayed, but Anderson's composure under significant heat sealed the match.
It was Roxy Roux last week converting a brilliant banana goal from deep in the pocket, and on Saturday Courtney Hodder stepped up from the exact same position for the Lions. She kicked the first goal of the game with her left boot, curling her set shot home brilliantly to give the Lions an early advantage. It would be the only goal kicked in the first half as it turned out, with both teams struggling in front of goal and kicking nine points between them in the first two quarters.
"They were super. The way the girls stuck to what we were trying to implement, for such a young team, was terrific. For their belief in terms of coming all the way to Perth, preparing to play against the top side, and to knock them off when they're on a streak like that, all that stuff for your footy education is gold." - Brisbane coach Craig Starcevich
"We sort of saw this coming to be honest. We trained really poorly during the week and we sparked up a little bit Thursday night, but it wasn't to our usual level. We were off in our pressure and Brisbane's pressure was good. We definitely didn't handle it today." - Fremantle coach Trent Cooper
The Dockers face West Coast for the second time this season on Sunday week, meeting their cross-town rivals at Optus Stadium at 1.40pm AWST before their respective AFL teams clash in the AAMI Community Series at the same venue. Brisbane travel to Canberra to face Greater Western Sydney at Manuka Oval on Saturday at 3.10 AEDT.
FREMANTLE 0.2 0.7 0.7 1.8 (14)
BRISBANE 1.1 1.2 2.7 3.7 (25)
Brisbane: Hodder, O'Dwyer, Anderson
Fremantle: Bowers, Sergeant, K.Antonio, Pugh, Miller, Roux, Pugh
Brisbane: Bates, Bodey, O'Dwyer, Hodder, Anderson, Lutkins
Crowd: 3423 at Fremantle Oval
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