Fremantle     1.4  4.7  6.13  8.16     64
Brisbane       2.1  3.2  5.3    5.5       35

Fremantle have run out 29-point winners in a middling match at Patersons Stadium.

The return of Jonathan Brown to the Brisbane side and Mark Harvey to Perth – as Lions assistant coach against his former team in Fremantle – proved lots of pre-game interest, yet the match itself was a dire display of nullifying play and missed opportunities.

Mark Harvey had obviously been dissing more dirt than a broken bobcat all week at training as the Lions smothered and pressured the Dockers to take a three-point lead into quarter time, with Joel Patfull keeping Matthew Pavlich to a single disposal.

A low-scoring opening quarter saw only three goals, with one for each side coming from free kicks. A great dob out wide from the 50 by Daniel Rich gave his side the lead, and a return of 2.1 from only four inside 50s, with the Dockers wasteful at the other end.

The second quarter stagnated under the weight of numbers around the ball, with free kicks – including a contentious fifty where Brisbane were marched when it appeared a Fremantle teammate didn’t get the ball back to the recipient on the full – the cause of three of the term’s four goals.

Injuries to Fremantle’s Nathan Fyfe, who did a shoulder after a brutal bump from ‘Goose’ Maguire, and the Lions’ ruckman Matthew Leuenberger succumbing to a possible Achilles tear saw both subs – David Mundy and Jared Polec – get an early piece of the action, and slot six pointers soon after.

Fremantle were easily winning both the hit outs (27 – 11) and the inside 50s (22 – 11) yet couldn’t convert possession into scoreboard pressure and went into half-time with an 11-point advantage (4.7 to 3.2).

Fremantle almost had the perfect start to the second-half, with Pavlich initially and indecisively awarded a goal 20 seconds in after launching from 60m. However, an umpire conference and video review saw the decision rightfully ruled as touched over the line for a behind and so the slog continued.

Zac Clarke followed some great big-man roving with a deft snap to score for Fremantle, then Polec lobbed one through half-post height from 60 for the Lions.

Daniel Merrett again bobbed up as a stop-gap forward fill in for the Lions, somehow guiding a rank helicopter, true defenders kick through the big sticks to keep the contest alive, but a goal to Fremantle’s Josh Mellington saw the gap 16 points at the last break.

Brisbane were being more charitable than the Salvos with their defensive turn-overs, yet the Dockers had mercifully kicked only 1.9 from them to keep things close.

Clancee Pearce’s third goal for the game in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter should have opened the floodgates for Fremantle, yet the game limped to a listless ending with a further Dockers goal to Paul Duffield half-way through the term the last six-pointer for the afternoon.

Harvey had obviously given Michael Voss and Brisbane a leg-up in ways to stop the Dockers, yet, with an all-time record low tally of inside 50s (20) by the Lions, and Jonathan Brown not touching the ball after three disposals in the first term, they had no means to actually beat them.

The Dockers had almost complete control in the ruck, especially after Leuenberger’s injury, with Sandilands amassing 54 hit-outs; helping all their midfielders to 20-plus touch games, yet the return of 8.16 from the front six was woefully wasteful in a game where the final siren couldn’t come quick enough.

Votes:      Pearce 3, Sandilands 2, Barlow 1

Fremantle:     Pearce 3, Duffield, Pavlich, Mundy, Clarke, Mellington
Brisbane:    Polec 2, Banfield, Rich, Merrett

Fremantle:     Pearce, Sandilands, Mzungu, Clarke, Barlow
Brisbane:     Patfull, Polec, Redden

Fyfe (shoulder), Mellington (hamstring)
Brisbane Lions: Leuenberger (achilles/calf)

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Dalgleish, Rosebury, Bannister

Official crowd: 33,473 at Patersons Stadium