Fremantle coach Ross Lyon gave his players a stern post-match spray despite watching them hold on for a seven-point AFL win over West Coast in Saturday’s western derby.
The Dockers looked set for an easy victory after a five-goals-to-nil third quarter gave them a 24-point lead at the final change.
But the game was turned on its head when West Coast kicked four quick goals to snatch the lead midway through the last quarter.
With their top-two hopes on the line, Fremantle’s response was as swift as it was brutal.
Goals to Stephen Hill, Danyle Pearce and Hayden Ballantyne within the space of three minutes gave the Dockers vital breathing space.
Another Dockers lapse allowed the Eagles to kick two late goals, but Fremantle were saved by the siren to finish 13.10 (88) to 11.15 (81) winners.
Lyon was miffed at his team’s efforts in the dying minutes, and let them know all about it after making his way onto the ground after the game.
“The adrenalin was still flowing, so there was a couple of things (that I wanted to say) while it was fresh in the mind,” Lyon said.
“A bit was about stoppages – like we hit out to space and it hurt us and they walked out of the middle.
“Three or four things hurt us that shouldn’t have occurred, so the guys will remember that.
“It’s certainly not personal. We’re all pretty tight and it’s a good learning opportunity.
“Then I got around to everyone individually and just thanked them for the efforts.”
Fremantle midfielder Hill won the Ross Glendinning Medal as best afield after tallying 32 possessions and booting three goals.
Nat Fyfe, Paul Duffield, Ballantyne and ruckman Aaron Sandilands were also superb, while the Eagles were well served by Mark LeCras, Matt Priddis and Eric Mackenzie.
West Coast defender Mitch Brown is expected to miss the rest of the season after his right knee twisted awkwardly when he crashed to the turf in the third term.
Brown will undergo scans to determine the extent of the damage, but the Eagles concede there’s only a glimmer of hope he’d escaped damage to his anterior cruciate ligament.
Fremantle’s sixth-straight victory this season lifted them back to fourth place, while the Eagles remain two wins adrift of eighth spot ahead of next week’s tough home clash with Sydney.
West Coast were left ruing yet another wayward display in front of goal.
The Eagles kicked 1.7 in the second quarter, but it was their inability to ice the game once they hit the lead in the final term that stood out for coach Adam Simpson.
“I don’t think we knew what to do once we got to the lead,” Simpson said.
“It rocked Fremantle into lifting up a gear and we didn’t handle that.