Star Essendon midfielder Brendon Goddard suffered a groin injury in a dirty day for the Bombers, as Fremantle unleashed a third-quarter blitz to cruise to a 53-point victory in Sunday’s AFL clash at Patersons Stadium.
The Bombers led by five points midway through the second quarter, but surrendered meekly in the heat as Fremantle slammed through 10 unanswered goals to set up the 18.5 (113) to 9.6 (60) victory.
Bombers veterans Dustin Fletcher (soreness) and Paul Chapman (ankle) didn’t make the trip west, while Essendon were dealt another blow when David Myers became a late withdrawal.
And the bad news kept coming for the Bombers, who were forced to sub Goddard off early in the second quarter.
Goddard received treatment on his groin before the match, and he was clearly troubled as he hobbled through the opening term before Essendon pulled the plug on his day.
Fremantle were also dealt a blow when star midfielder David Mundy was subbed out in the third quarter due to concussion.
The Bombers matched Fremantle for most of the opening half, but were blown off the park in the third quarter as the 30C conditions took their toll.
Fremantle booted the last three goals of the first half to take a 13-point lead into the long break.
But it was their third-quarter blitz that tore the heart out of Essendon, as Fremantle ran rampant kicking seven straight goals.
Skipper Matthew Pavlich (three goals), ruckman Aaron Sandilands (45 hitouts), and defenders Luke McPharlin and Michael Johnson were crucial in the win.
Speedsters Stephen Hill, Danyle Pearce and Hayden Ballantyne added vital class in the absence of Nat Fyfe, Michael Barlow, Michael Walters and Chris Mayne.
Bombers trio Dyson Heppell, Brent Stanton and Michael Hibberd tried hard for the Bombers.
However, the absence of key talls Paddy Ryder and Tom Bellchambers proved telling as Fremantle ruckman Sandilands enjoyed a field day against Jake Carlisle and Joe Daniher.
Sandilands will hope his high whack on Travis Colyer in a clumsy tackle attempt will go unpunished by the match review panel.
As the temperature hovered about 30C for most of the match, Fremantle youngster Lachie Neale stuck his head in an esky in a bid to escape the heat.
The Bombers were also looking for a place to hide after an embarrassing third quarter, and the visitors managed just 30 inside-50s for the match.