FREMANTLE used its return home to rediscover its powerful best, going on a second-half rampage to beat Carlton by 42 points at Fremantle Oval on Saturday.
After 23 days in a Victorian hub and smarting from their first loss of the season last week, the Dockers went on a five-goal run in the second half to win their sixth game of the season, 7.9 (51) to 1.3 (9).
DOCKERS v BLUES Full match coverage and stats
It was a tough and tight clash early, but the Blues were unable to maintain their pressure and control the ball after the main break, falling to their fourth consecutive loss by more than 30 points.
Dangerous Freo forward Mikayla Morrison was the star, forcing mistakes in the Blues' defence and finishing her work with three excellent goals.
Captain Hayley Miller lifted to drive the third-quarter surge, winning nine of her 24 disposals in the decisive quarter and finishing with eight clearances.
Defenders Laura Pugh and Emma O'Driscoll were pillars in defence when the team was under pressure early, limiting the damage the Blues were able to do when their midfield was in control.
Ebony Antonio put the icing on the cake with a spectacular grab that will be hard to top for Mark of the Year.
Carlton brought a physical approach on their second road trip for the season and controlled territory in the first quarter, holding the ball in their forward half for long periods.
The visitors were unable to take full toll on the scoreboard, however, with star forward Darcy Vescio kicking the Blues' sole goal with a brilliant left foot snap over their shoulder.
The Dockers adjusted after quarter-time and took the lead through former skipper Kara Antonio, with the home team kicking seven consecutive goals in total in their biggest win for the season.
Carlton ruck Brea Moody returned from health and safety protocols and controlled the middle with 29 hit-outs, while teenage midfielder Mimi Hill was outstanding with a game-high 25 disposals.
INJURY CONCERNS FOR BOTH SIDES
The Blues will anxiously await the result of scans for star midfielder Maddy Prespakis who was crunched in a contest, suffering an apparent back injury that forced her from the ground for a significant period. She later left the ground in an ambulance for assessment, with the extent of any injury unclear post-match. The Dockers, meanwhile, finished without dangerous forward Roxy Roux, who was taken from the ground as a precaution after experiencing hamstring awareness.
"GOALS FROM EVERYWHERE"
Carlton coach Daniel Harford was left lamenting the dangerous Dockers' ability to get goals from a variety of sources, including their midfield, with Morrison (three) and Hyde (two) replacing usual suspects Gemma Houghton and Ebony Antonio atop the goalkickers list. The Dockers' ability to rotate the dangerous Morrison and Gabby O'Sullivan (six inside 50s) in the midfield, and send Miller forward at times, gave them an unpredictable look that was hard to contain, with forward Kara Antonio also central to setting up several goals.
DID YOU SEE THAT?
Carlton star Darcy Vescio controlled the first quarter, creating opportunities with their strength in the contest and ability to shrug off opponents. The 28-year-old kicked the opening goal one minute into the match with a brilliant left foot snap, and created two more similar opportunities, hitting the post with the second. Vescio was in everything early, with the Dockers forced to make several switches in defence to keep a close check on them, ultimately succeeding and keeping the star goalkicker to 1.2.
"That was the best part of our game, our ball movement. We've become a really good into-the-breeze team (and) our backs are holding up well. We scored five out of our seven goals [into the breeze], so our ball movement into the breeze has been really good. There's still a long way to go as far as playing the good sides. Adelaide are obviously the trendsetters at the moment, then there's Melbourne, ourselves and North Melbourne, who have just lost the one game. There's not a lot between those sides. – Fremantle coach Trent Cooper
"Jekyll and Hyde is what we were today. I thought our first half was terrific and they're a seriously good team back here. We set the game up really well early and weren't able to capitalise in that first quarter like we would have liked to. I thought we owned the second quarter … and I came in really bullish at half time. Fremantle upped their game. I put it down to more of a mental application issue, as opposed to a football application issue." – Carlton coach Daniel Harford
Fremantle has a bye in round seven, giving it 14 days to prepare for a top-of-the-table clash against Adelaide at Fremantle Oval on February 26, with superstar midfielder Kiara Bowers set to return from suspension. Carlton returns home to take on the winless St Kilda next Saturday at Ikon Park.
FREMANTLE 1.0 2.1 6.2 7.9 (51)
CARLTON 1.2 1.2 1.2 1.3 (9)
Fremantle: Morrison 3, Hyde 2, K Antonio, Stewart
Fremantle: Morrison, Miller, K Antonio, O'Sullivan, O'Driscoll, Pugh, Hyde
Carlton: Hill, Moody, Egan, Prespakis, Vescio
Fremantle: Roux (hamstring awareness)
Carlton: Prespakis (back)
Crowd: 2,524 at Fremantle Oval
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