Sport AFL Pavlich stars as Dockers down Hawks

Pavlich stars as Dockers down Hawks

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Fremantle skipper Matthew Pavlich made a welcome return to form as the Dockers put a major dent in Hawthorn’s top-two hopes with a 19-point victory in Sunday’s grand final re-match at Patersons Stadium.

Pavlich booted five goals in the 17.8 (110) to 13.13 (91) win, with the result breaking Fremantle’s six-game losing streak against the Hawks.

Hawthorn started the round in top spot, but are now a game adrift of both Geelong and Sydney ahead of Saturday’s showdown against the Cats at the MCG.

Fremantle remain a win ahead of Port Adelaide in fourth as the jostling for positions heats up.

Pavlich entered the match having kicked just two goals in his previous three games.

But the 32-year-old veteran wound back the clock in style, taking a series of contested marks and booting some clever snaps to inspire his team to their best win of the season.

Fremantle suffered a late blow when goalsneak Hayden Ballantyne was ruled out with a hamstring injury, but the return of Michael Walters offset that loss.

Walters, playing his first match since round three, booted one goal and set up numerous others, while midfielders David Mundy, Michael Barlow and Stephen Hill were also crucial in the win.

Hawthorn midfielder Jordan Lewis finished with 44 disposals and seven clearances, but the defending premiers lacked their usual finesse for much of the match.

Nat Fyfe was in the thick of the action in the opening quarter – but mostly for the wrong reasons.

Fyfe’s off-the-ball hit on Jordan Lewis is sure to attract attention from the AFL’s match review panel, and the 22-year-old was left clearly frustrated a few minutes later when he gave away a 50m penalty for holding Luke Hodge after a mark.

Hodge kicked truly from the subsequent kick, and Fyfe cost his side another goal when his off-the-ball niggle with Will Langford gifted Paul Puopolo a shot from point-blank range.

Hawthorn posted 11 scores from 15 inside 50s in the opening term, but their waywardness in front of goal kept kept Fremantle in the contest.

The game turned into a shootout in the second quarter, with Pavlich and Fyfe booting two goals apiece for Fremantle, and Puopolo nailing three for Hawthorn to keep the visitors ahead.

Only 19 goals were kicked in last year’s grand final.

But by the 29-minute mark of the second quarter, 20 goals were already on the board in what had quickly turned into a shootout.

The Dockers continued to fire in the second half, but Hawthorn’s inaccuracy cost them dearly, with the absence of suspended forward Jarryd Roughead telling.