Fremantle has returned to the top four on the AFL ladder with a comfortable 58-point victory over the Brisbane Lions at the Gabba.
The Dockers dominated the first quarter – aided by the hosts freely giving away the ball in their defensive 50 – and their lead never looked in jeopardy in a 15.16 (106) to 6.12 (48) victory in front of a crowd of 17,473.
That the Dockers won so comfortably after taking the longest trip in the AFL without three of their most important players in Nat Fyfe (suspended), Michael Barlow (broken thumb) and skipper Matthew Pavlich (a late withdrawal with a quad injury) illustrates the difference between a top-four side and the 15th-placed Lions.
Fremantle now need to avoid defeat to Port Adelaide at Patersons Stadium next Saturday to cement fourth position.
Without their spearhead in attack Pavlich, small forwards Hayden Ballantyne and Michael Walters both kicked three goals for the Dockers but could have had a couple more each with kicking accuracy for goal the only negative aspect of their performance.
This profligacy may cost Fremantle if they lose to Port Adelaide next week as the Power boast a slightly higher percentage.
The Lions posed very little scoring threat with specialist tagger Ryan Crowley stopping Irishman Pearce Hanley from having any meaningful impact in the game.
All-Australian contender Tom Rockliff was once again a ball hawk for the Lions amassing 45 disposals but had little effect on the game, as his two inside-50s attest.
After a mostly forgettable game, Ashley McGrath, the Lions’ last remaining premiership player, gave the home fans brief reason to cheer by kicking a fourth-quarter goal in his 214th and final AFL match.