Dockers defence nullifies Eagles clearance dominance

DEFENCE wins matches according to the old adage, and that was certainly the case for Fremantle during its win over West Coast. Laying a club-record 98 tackles, the Dockers achieved the feat minus arguably the best inside midfielder, and certainly best tackler in the game, Kiara Bowers.

However, the Eagles show some promising signs, dominating the clearances without exactly making the most of their chances with ball-in-hand. Despite Fremantle winning the hitouts by six (38-32), the Eagles had more than double the Dockers’ clearances, with a plus-19 differential at stoppages (29-10). Though admittedly the Dockers came away with the points, the Eagles showed they were up for the fight, winning the contested and uncontested ball.


Aisling McCarthy17107
Emma Swanson15145
Ella Roberts24165
Dana East12103
Hayley Miller1263
Airlie Runnalls1062

As is evident from above, when looking at the top three clearance midfielders from the respective sides, the Eagles got the better of the Dockers, and made the most of Bowers’ absence. With a plus-nine differential between those core groups alone, it showed where the Eagles had their moments.


FremantleStatisticWest Coast
19Tackles I507

Fremantle has always prided itself on pressure, and it got the win off the back of just that, by locking the ball inside its forward half of the ground, and transferring that pressure into scores. In a low marking match, the Dockers took 14 more marks, but it was their plus-12 differential of tackling inside 50 that really stood out.

Angela Stannett lead all-comers with five of her 10 tackles coming inside 50. She was one of four Dockers to record two or more tackles inside their own arc, with Aine Tighe (three inside 50 tackles from seven), Gabby O’Sullivan (two from 12) and Ebony Antonio (two from two) were the others. Only West Coast ruck and debutant Lauren Wakfer (three from four) laid multiple tackles inside 50.

Turnovers also really hurt the Eagles, with seven players recording five ore more turnovers in the match, accounting for 45 of their total team turnovers. By comparison, Fremantle only had four players with five ore more, and no one with greater than six.

At the other end of the scale, the Dockers had six players with 70 per cent of greater disposal efficiency, including the likes of Mim Strom (15 disposals, 73.3 per cent efficiency) and Madeleine Scanlon (11 disposals, 72.7 per cent). West Coast had the three players, with Jaide Britton (14 disposals, 71.4 per cent) and Shanae Davison (10 disposals, 70 per cent) among the Eagles meeting the criteria with 10 or more disposals.


Ultimately the game showed that while the Eagles have plenty of potential for the future, particularly around the ball, they will have to improve their disposal under pressure. If they can win the clearance count that significantly consistently, then they will find themselves on the right side of a lot of scores. However Fremantle can also take away that the Dockers have that pressure capacity even minus Bowers, and will be pleased that they can keep it inside their forward half despite a clearance deficit.

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