Sport AFL Footy’s back: Hapless Collingwood flogged by flag fancy

Footy’s back: Hapless Collingwood flogged by flag fancy

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Freo’s flag: Only calamity can stop Dockers

Collingwood felt the full force of Fremantle’s grand-final frustrations as the Dockers crushed the home side by 70 points in Friday’s AFL season-opener at Etihad Stadium.

Midfielder Nat Fyfe played a starring role as coach Ross Lyon’s 2013 runners-up overpowered Collingwood 17.14 (116) to a record-low 5.16 (46) in front of a crowd of 37,571.

It was Collingwood’s lowest-ever score against Fremantle, beating their 7.12 (54) at the same venue in 2004.

Nat Fyfe flies high. Photo: Getty

Fyfe sparked Fremantle’s win with a stunning second-term effort. The reigning club champion finished with 20 possessions including 15 contested plus nine clearances and a goal before being subbed off in the third term.

Hayden Ballantyne, who missed four shots at goal in the decider against Hawthorn last September, kicked a game-high three goals on Friday.

Michael Johnson was dominant in defence for the Dockers while Luke McPharlin held Collingwood’s big forward Travis Cloke goal-less.

Dayne Beams, Dane Swan and Scott Pendlebury were Collingwood’s leading ball-winners. However, Pendlebury’s tagger Ryan Crowley booted two goals to the Magpies’ skipper’s one and kept Pendlebury under pressure all game.

Collingwood started the match with finals-like intensity but squandered goalscoring opportunities and led by the slimmest of margins 2.4 (16) to 2.3 (15) at quarter-time.

Fremantle slammed on six unanswered goals to lead 8.7 (55) to 2.8 (20) at halftime.

Fyfe followed up a brilliant snapshot goal off one step at the 15-minute mark by taking a spectacular mark at half-forward four minutes later, setting up a goal for Danyle Pearce.

Ballantyne kicked two of Fremantle’s eight first-half goals including a brilliant left-foot snap from the boundary in the second term.

Fremantle stretched their run of consecutive goals to 12 as their advantage jumped out to 62 points before Collingwood finally notched their third goal at the 21-minute mark of the third quarter off the boot of Brent Macaffer.

A six-goal third term to Colingwood’s solitary major put the Dockers 63 points ahead at the final break. Fremantle subbed out Fyfe before the start of the final term.

Fremantle outscored the Magpies three goals to two in the last quarter.

Collingwood face Sydney in round two on March 29 while the Dockers host Gold Coast on the same day.


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