Melbourne’s 17-match winning streak is over with Fremantle reeling in a five-goal deficit to pull off a momentous 38-point upset win at the MCG.
The loss leaves the Demons just a win ahead of the Brisbane Lions, who defeated GWS by 14 points earlier on Saturday.
Geelong also enjoyed a win with a seven-goal defeat of Adelaide, while the Western Bulldogs thrashed West Coast by 101 points and Gold Coast scored a 67-point victory over Hawthorn.
The Demons were cruising towards an 11-0 start in 2022 after leading by 30 points late in the second quarter before Fremantle slammed through the last 10 goals of the match to make an almighty statement.
The Dockers, who were coming off disappointing defeats to Gold Coast and Collingwood, produced an eight-goal third-quarter burst to stun the reigning premiers.
Justin Longmuir’s team led by 17 points at the final change and soaked up Melbourne’s pressure to run away winners, 14.10 (94) to 7.14 (56), kicking 13 of the last 14 goals.
It was Melbourne’s first defeat since losing to the Western Bulldogs in round 19 last year.
Melbourne was rocked by the early loss of superstar defender Steven May, who was subbed out at quarter-time following a friendly fire collision with fellow premiership backman Jake Lever.
In a major blow for the Demons, May will miss next week’s clash with the Sydney Swans under the AFL’s concussion protocols.
But Melbourne’s downfall and Fremantle’s revival did not solely stem from May’s absence as the Dockers ran riot around the clearances to embarrass the Demons’ all-star midfield unit.
The Demons’ defensive structure was undoubtedly rocked without May but Andrew Brayshaw, Will Brodie, Caleb Serong and Sean Darcy set up the comeback out of the middle.
Brownlow Medal favourite Clayton Oliver had 24 disposals by half-time but was kept quiet after the main break as the Dockers reigned supreme.
Oft-maligned ruck-forward Rory Lobb kept the Dockers in the contest early, booting two of Fremantle’s first three goals and asserting himself around the ground.
Lachie Schultz finished with a match-high four goals, Lobb kicked three, while the exciting Michael Frederick booted two and had an influential role in setting up many others, including a classy tap-on late in the third term.
The performance confirms Fremantle (8-3 win-loss record) as a genuine premiership contender, adding to the rare win they secured in Geelong in round seven.
The only downside for the Dockers was important forward Matt Taberner being subbed off in the final term for Bailey Banfield.
The Dockers face another massive challenge next Sunday when they host second-placed Brisbane in Perth.
Lions rally to beat Giants
Brisbane overcame a first-quarter blitz by GWS to claim a win over the Giants at the Gabba.
The Lions, who trailed by as much as 30 points as the Giants kicked eight goals in the first term, took control over the next three quarters of Saturday’s game to run out 16.14 (110) to 15.6 (96) victors.
Lincoln McCarthy kicked four goals for the Lions while key forward Dan McStay booted a double on his return from an ankle injury.
Lachie Neale and eye-catching youngster Deven Robertson also notched two majors each for the hosts.
Toby Greene finished with four goals of his own for the Giants while James Peatling repeated his efforts from last week against West Coast with three majors.
Josh Kelly, with 31 disposals, six clearances and two goals, was arguably the visitors’ best while five other Giants picked up over 20 disposals.
Jesse Hogan also bagged a double for the visitors.
Jarrod Berry (33 disposals, one goal) was hugely influential in the Lions’ midfield while Neale was all class, adding a game-high 39 disposals and six tackles to his two goals.
The win comes after last weekend’s shock five-point loss to Hawthorn by the Lions and lifts Chris Fagan’s team to 9-2 for the season.
The anticipated response from that loss to the Hawks didn’t come in the early stages as the Giants piled on six goals to one in the opening 20 minutes.
When Greene kicked his third of the quarter the Giants were five goals clear before McCarthy took his own tally for the term to three for the Lions to be just two goals down at the first break.
In a first-quarter shootout, a combined 14 goals from just 27 inside 50s were kicked.
GWS were also forced to sub out Callan Ward after the midfielder suffered a concussion in a contest with Eric Hipwood where the Giant caught Hipwood’s knee to the side of his head.
Having settled after their slow start, the Lions flexed their muscle across the next two quarters and hit the front for the first time early in the third term when McStay was gifted his second goal of the day via a 50m free-kick.
Brisbane never looked back from that point, Robertson providing a highlight reel moment with his second goal of the day before Brandon Starcevich and Neale hit the scoreboard with long bombs from outside 50 to have a 21-point margin at the final turn.
The Giants’ refused to go away in the final term and when Hogan kicked his second with five minutes to play, the margin was just nine points in the Lions’ favour.
McCarthy’s fourth of the day settled the home fans’ nerves as the Giants drop to a 3-8 record.
West Coast vs Western Bulldogs
Gold Coast vs Hawthorn
Cameron on song as Cats trump Crows
Jeremy Cameron kicked four goals to help Geelong strengthen its claims for a top-four spot with its victory over Adelaide.
Heavily favoured at home, the Cats rode a strong challenge during the third term to prevail 15.7 (97) to 7.13 (55) at Kardinia Park.
The result gave them consecutive victories for the first time since rounds three and four, and improved their win-loss record to 7-3 ahead of a bumper clash with the Western Bulldogs next Friday night.
Aside from Cameron’s match-high haul, Former Crow Tyson Stengle booted three goals in his first appearance against the club that axed him and Gryan Miers matched his tally, with Tom Hawkins adding two.
Brandan Parfitt (30 disposals), Cam Guthrie (34) and Joel Selwood (24) were busy in the midfield and Tom Atkins laid 17 tackles.
Tom Stewart (40 disposals) was outstanding in defence, where young tall Sam De Koning also impressed with another assured display.
The 21-year-old sent a brief scare through the Geelong camp when he clutched at his left knee during the final quarter but waved away trainers and played on.
Adelaide dominated the clearance battle (32-16) in the first half but it did not translate to territorial dominance as Geelong’s defence proved hard to penetrate.
The Cats enjoyed a 61-36 advantage in inside-50s.
Recalled after a week in the reserves, Adelaide ruckman Reilly O’Brien fought hard in a losing cause with 28 disposals, 24 contested possessions, 46 hit-outs, nine clearances and seven tackles.
Young forward Darcy Fogarty booted three goals for the Crows.
Rory Laird (38 disposals) and Ben Keays (28) racked up big numbers but the visitors lost defender Jordon Butts after he fell heavily in a third-quarter marking contest.
Posted 9h ago9 hours agoSat 28 May 2022 at 3:07am, updated 12m ago12 minutes agoSat 28 May 2022 at 12:21pm