FREMANTLE forward Aine Tighe produced the game of her career against Hawthorn on Saturday, turning the match with four goals and ensuring inaugural captain Kara Antonio retired on a high with a five-point win.
Tighe was brilliant after a goalless spell, dragging the Dockers back into the game with a big second quarter and then driving them home with two brilliant later goals to seal the 7.7 (49) to 7.2 (44) win.
DOCKERS v HAWKS Full match coverage and stats
Her final goal was a brilliant right-foot snap from outside 50 that put the Dockers 10 points clear, with Freo resisting a late charge in the final minute from the Hawks to win their third game this season.
Tighe was the star, but Antonio was the sentimental favourite, returning from a season-long hamstring injury to boot two goals herself in an emotional farewell that inspired her team.
Fellow trailblazer Kiara Bowers was exceptional and lifted for the occasion, getting better as the game went on to finish with 34 disposals (16 contested), 22 tackles and eight clearances.
While the Dockers ended their disappointing year on a high, the retirement of Hawthorn vice-captain Jess Duffin was soured after the Hawks let a lead slip.
Both champions were carried from Fremantle Oval through a guard of honour, in a nice ending to an entertaining clash.
The first ever AFLW meeting between the two teams started in a memorable way when Duffin booted the first goal with an impressive mark and snap set shot.
Hawthorn continued to lock the ball in its forward half and built a 13-point lead at the first break, dominating the forward entries 12-3 as Tilly Lucas-Rodd controlled the midfield with eight first-quarter touches.
Freo took advantage of the breeze in the second quarter, however, and Tighe capitalised on her height, taking three marks, including a big contested grab to set up her first goal.
The 30-year-old's second came when she attacked a loose ball and spun onto her right foot to snap accurately and help the Dockers take a one-point lead into the main break.
Hawthorn looked like the winner in the third quarter when it booted three consecutive goals to build a 17-point lead, but the Dockers were ignited when Antonio kicked the first of her goals from a set shot deep in the term.
Duffin dazzles early in farewell
In a battle of two retiring champs at either end of the ground, Duffin landed the first blow with a series of key early involvements and opening goal of the game. The forward missed her first shot, but bounced back to mark in the pocket and convert six minutes in. She then used her body brilliantly to out-mark her opponent deep, but hit the post, ending the quarter with 1.2. Her next major involvement came with 30 seconds left in the game and it was a big one, snapping a goal to give the Hawks a sniff.
Tighe's drought-breaker leads to a bag
Tighe had struggled for opportunities in recent weeks and kicked just 0.1 in her past three games, but the drought was well and truly over on Saturday. It was a return to form for the Irish Docker and a career-best performance to close her season. It was also the best return for a Fremantle AFLW player this season. She was terrific at ground level and in the air, finishing with 13 disposals, six marks and four inside 50s to go with her four goals.
A new record for Freo's Turbo
It hardly registers anymore when Fremantle midfielder Kiara Bowers ticks into double figures for tackles, but she reached new ground on Saturday with a League-best 22, passing joint AFLW record-holders Ebony Marinoff and Cathy Svarc, who had set the previous mark at 21. The Dockers jet had warmed up for the occasion with a career-best 20 last week against Sydney and kept the momentum going, finishing her season with an average of 14.6 – the highest of her career.
FREMANTLE 0.1 3.3 4.3 7.7 (49)
HAWTHORN 2.2 3.2 6.2 7.2 (44)
Fremantle: Tighe 4, K. Antonio 2, Roux
Hawthorn: Duffin 2, Baskaran, Fellows, Gilroy, Lucas-Rodd, McDonough
Fremantle: Tighe, Bowers, E. Antonio, Pugh, K. Antonio
Hawthorn: Lucas-Rodd, Ashmore, Duffin, Gilroy, Baskaran