Fremantle midfielder Stephen Hill marked the AFL’s indigenous round with a best-afield game as the Dockers beat the Western Bulldogs by 38 points.
Fremantle’s defensive work strangled the life out of the Bulldogs and they were never threatened seriously, winning 13.11 (89) to 6.15 (51) in front of only 14,913 fans on Sunday at Etihad Stadium.
While the ‘Dogs could not be questioned for their workrate, Fremantle shut them down in attack and would then swarm forward for critical goals.
Fremantle improved to six wins and four losses, while the Bulldogs are wallowing on 3-7.
But the Dockers were far from their best and conceded a season-high 67 inside 50s.
Hill kicked four goals and had 24 possessions, while tagger Ryan Crowley shut down Bulldogs captain Ryan Griffen and kept him to only 10 disposals.
Bulldogs midfielder Mitch Wallis was equally effective in his lockdown role on Nathan Fyfe, keeping the Dockers star to 14 possessions.
Fellow ‘Dogs onballer Tom Liberatore had a game-high nine clearances.
Two goals apiece to Hayden Ballantyne and Hill took the Dockers to a 16-point lead at quarter-time.
Fremantle broke the game open in the second term as they continued to soak up the Bulldogs’ attacks.
Inevitably, the Bulldogs could not maintain their pressure and the Dockers took control with four goals.
They led by 37 points until Tom Williams was paid a free kick and kicked the Bulldogs’ only goal of the term just before halftime.
The Bulldogs rallied early in the third term, kicking the first two goals of the half and reducing the margin to three goals.
But any hopes of an unlikely Bulldogs win were snuffed out when Matthew Pavlich kicked his second goal at the start of the last term.
Hill kicked another two goals in the final quarter to cap his outstanding game.