Fremantle finally have some silverware to put in their trophy cabinet after locking up the minor premiership with a 54-point demolition of Melbourne in Sunday’s AFL clash at Domain Stadium.
The Dockers booted the first 10 goals of the match to secure the 17.6 (108) to 8.6 (54) win, with the result giving them an unassailable lead at the top of the table with one round to play.
Fremantle have the option to rest the bulk of their best 22 for next week’s dead rubber against the Power in Adelaide, before gearing up for a home qualifying final.
Melbourne have lost 16 consecutive matches at Domain Stadium, with their last victory at the Perth venue coming in 2004 when David Neitz and Adam Yze were still in the prime of their careers.
On a horrible day for the Demons, milestone man Nathan Jones suffered a game-ending ankle injury during the opening moments of the second quarter.
Jones, playing his 200th match, was helped off by trainers after rolling his left ankle in an innocuous incident as he ran beside David Mundy.
The Demons’ skipper, who was put in a moon boot and forced to use crutches, had earlier copped a heavy head knock as he competed for the ball against Dockers defender Zac Dawson.
Fremantle also suffered an injury blow, with defender Cameron Sutcliffe dislocating his shoulder in the final quarter.
Earlier, imposing Adelaide forward Josh Jenkins kicked six goals in a 57-point belting of West Coast which put the Eagles’ top-two AFL hopes in peril.
The Crows, eyeing a possible home elimination final, produced two bursts of precision football in a 19.12 (126) to 10.9 (69) win on Sunday at Adelaide Oval.
West Coast must defeat St Kilda next weekend or likely slip to third – and be punted on the road in the opening week of the finals, possibly against Hawthorn.
The Crows, in a logjam in the lower reaches of the top eight, blitzed the Eagles by kicking the initial nine goals of the game.
Adelaide went on another unanswered five-goal scoring spree in the third term, prompting standing ovations from a 53,445-strong crowd – the largest attendance at a Crows game in Adelaide not involving arch enemy Port Adelaide.
With Jenkins imperiously ruling the forward line and Patrick Dangerfield and Brodie Smith running amok upfield, Adelaide slotted 8.3 to 0.1 in a devastating first quarter.
And when Jenkins potted his fourth major early in the second stanza, Adelaide led by a match-defining 56 points.
The Eagles briefly rallied, kicking the next five goals to reduce their deficit to 26 points at halftime.
But Adelaide charged again in the third term, scoring five goals to one en route to a comprehensive victory.
And Sydney are in the box seat to snare a top-four berth after they made light work of St Kilda at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
With Richmond and Western Bulldogs nipping at their heels, the Swans couldn’t afford a slip up but they were rarely troubled by the Saints on their way to a 20.15 (135) to 4.14 (38) win.
With one round to play, fourth spot is Sydney’s to lose with the 97-point drubbing putting them a game clear of the Tigers and the Dogs.
The Swans had strong performances all over the ground with Josh Kennedy, Tom Mitchell and Dan Hannebery influential through the middle. Isaac Heeney led the way in attack with four goals; one of 10 Swans to kick at least one major.
– with AAP