Dockers sneak past Eagles at Subiaco - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Dockers sneak past Eagles at Subiaco

By Justin Chadwick 25/07/2009 09:08:00 PM Comments (0)

Fremantle coach Mark Harvey has demanded the tanking debate be "thrown out the window" after the Dockers' pulsating five-point AFL western derby win over West Coast at Subiaco Oval on Saturday.

Despite the error-riddled nature of the contest, players from both sides were relentless in their pursuit of the ball, continually putting their bodies on the line in a sight Harvey said should disprove the theory lowly-ranked teams are willing to 'tank' games in order to gain better draft picks.

The Dockers trailed by seven points early in the final quarter but sneaked out to a 12-point lead courtesy of a 65m bomb from Clancee Pearce and clever goals from debutant Jay van Berlo and fellow youngster Tim Ruffles.

West Coast were terribly wayward in front of goal but were still in with a chance to steal the game when Ashley Hansen reduced the gap to five points with 65 seconds remaining.

But in a nail-biting finish, a desperate smother from Dockers defender Greg Broughton on Shannon Hurn, which halted an Eagles attacking move, ensured Fremantle held on for the 10.11 (71) to 8.18 (66) win, their fifth straight derby triumph.

However, the elation of victory was soured by news that 18-year-old forward Tim Ruffles, who was stretchered off in the final term after his left knee buckled, had suffered a suspected rupture of his anterior cruciate ligament.

"That word tanking, when you go out and play like that, should be thrown straight out the window, so that's evidence," Harvey said after the match.

"Both teams - have a look, they were both trying to win the game.

"You only have to come to games like this to see ... what both clubs are trying to do.

"They are trying to make sure their teams, leading into the future, have a winning mentality and gain experience as each game goes on, and that's what we are trying to do."

West Coast have won just four games this season and will receive a priority selection should they fail to win another game.

But Eagles coach John Worsfold was adamant he did everything within his powers to snatch victory against Fremantle.

"We threw everything into it, we made every move possible to win it down to the last 20 seconds of the game," Worsfold said.

"There's absolutely nothing else we could have done to try any harder to win that game.

"There wasn't much in the two teams and that showed on the scoreboard.

"It probably came down to the team that stuffed it up the least that was in front at the end.

"Smothered handballs and kicks today must have been an all-time record."

Fremantle ruckman Aaron Sandilands and skipper Matthew Pavlich proved the difference between the two sides.

Sandilands, returning from a two-week injury layoff, won the Ross Glendinning medal for his best afield performance, tallying 30 possessions, 31 hit-outs, eight clearances and a goal.

Pavlich, who had missed the past three games with a calf injury, finished with 36 possessions and had nine inside 50s.

Paul Hasleby (33 possessions), Chris Tarrant, Nic Suban and Hayden Ballantyne were also crucial in the win, while van Berlo and Ruffles finished with two goals apiece.

Darren Glass was rock solid in defence for the Eagles and Josh Kennedy toiled hard up forward, but the Eagles were made to pay dearly for their wayward kicking in front of goal, with Hansen and Andrew Embley missing absolute sitters when the game was up for grabs.

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