COVID-battered Fremantle have flaunted their enviable depth with a crushing 78-point AFL victory over North Melbourne at Optus Stadium.
The Dockers entered Friday night’s game without six players due to health and safety protocols, including key forward Rory Lobb and defender Griffin Logue.
With injured duo Nat Fyfe and Matt Taberner also sidelined, the game presented a test for the Dockers’ reserves, especially up front, where teenagers Jye Amiss and Josh Treacy were their focal points.
Fremantle cleared up any doubts early by kicking the first five goals of the match to set up 15.12. (102) to 3.6 (24) victory in front of 37,040 fans.
The final stat inside 50m read 67-32 in favor of Fremantle, with North Melbourne limited to just two goals for most of the match before kicking off the third with less than five minutes remaining.
Fremantle’s sixth consecutive win improved their record to 7-1, and they will start as heavy favorites over the next two weeks when they take on Gold Coast (away) and Collingwood (home).
The Kangaroos (1-7) engage in a battle to avoid the wooden spoon.
Fremantle forward Sam Switkowski was substituted in the fourth quarter with a concussion after being kneed in the head when Jason Horne-Francis flew in to score.
North Melbourne defender Ben McKay, who starred with five contested scores, limped off in the third quarter after Josh Treacy went down on his right knee.
McKay was in a lot of pain while being evaluated in the dugout, and is set to be sent to a scanner to determine the extent of the damage.
Fremantle big man Sean Darcy (17 eliminations, 41 hitouts, four clearances, one goal) won the ruck battle against Todd Goldstein, while Will Brodie (37 eliminations) and Andrew Brayshaw (34 eliminations, 10 clearances) cleaned up Ground level.
The Kangaroos’ prized No. 1 draft pick Horne-Francis finished with a team-high seven clearances, but Fremantle were the clear winner in the midfield battle (48 clearances to 31) thanks to silver spoon serve from Darcy.
Fremantle debutant Amiss got off to a dream start to the game as he shrugged off Aidan Corr to take a disputed mark before kicking from 35m to score his first goal.
Two goals from Bailey Banfield, including a spectacular checkside, caused the hapless Kangaroos more pain.
A spectacular contender for Cameron Zurhaar’s record of the year early in the second quarter put North Melbourne on the scoresheet as the visitors staged the briefest of comebacks.
It was all Fremantle from then on, with the crowd unleashing a Mexican wave to add some excitement to the night.
Amiss, the first key top 10 striker recruited by Fremantle since Matthew Pavlich in 1999, finished with two goals and five marks in a promising debut.