Collingwood smash Freo; Thomas in doubt - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Collingwood smash Freo; Thomas in doubt

Justin Chadwick 26/08/2011 11:41:51 PM Comments (0)

Star midfielder Dale Thomas is in danger of missing the start of Collingwood's AFL finals campaign after dishing off a dodgy bump in the Magpies' 80-point triumph over injury-cursed Fremantle at Patersons Stadium on Friday night.

On a day where Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse's commitment to the club beyond this season was again questioned, Thomas flattened Dockers defender Garrick Ibbotson with a late, head-high bump just five minutes into the 20.12 (132) to 8.4 (52) victory.

Although Ibbotson wasn't injured, the match review panel is almost certain to scrutinise the hit, which was delivered well after the Docker had kicked the ball away.

Collingwood, whose 20th win locked up the minor premiership, face Geelong in the last round of the home-and-away season before a likely qualifying final showdown against West Coast.

Thomas has 68.75 carryover points after being suspended earlier in the year for striking Melbourne's Clint Jones, meaning any penalty for his latest hit could impact on his finals participation.

Fremantle's Nick Lower is almost certain to be suspended for his reckless head-high bump on Thomas, who was bent over attempting to scoop up a loose ball when contact was made.

The Dockers, minus the likes of broken-down stars Matthew Pavlich, David Mundy, Hayden Ballantyne, Antoni Grover, Adam McPhee and Alex Silvagni, suffered more injury heartbreak when Ibbotson was subbed off in the second quarter after twice dislocating his left shoulder.

But worse was to come for Fremantle, with defender Peter Faulks stretchered off in the third quarter and taken to hospital after copping a knee to the face from Collingwood ruckman Cameron Wood while running with the flight of the ball.

Faulks, who had blood streaming from his face after the impact, was later diagnosed with a fractured cheekbone.

The Dockers fought valiantly early and trailed Collingwood by just six points after kicking two goals inside the first 15 minutes.

But the home side had to wait until 26 minutes into the third quarter before kicking their third goal, when Collingwood had already piled on 16.9 to lead by 85 points.

Dane Swan, Thomas, Ben Reid, Scott Pendlebury, Alan Didak, Dayne Beams, Travis Cloke (four goals) and Andrew Krakouer (four goals) were superb for Collingwood, whose slick ball movement, hard running and intense tackling pressure simply overwhelmed Fremantle.

The one bright point for the Dockers was the form shown by former Magpie Jack Anthony, who performed an excellent shutdown role on Chris Dawes in just his third AFL match of the year.

Fremantle midfielder Michael Barlow, Lower, Stephen Hill and ruckman Aaron Sandilands never stopped trying, but the gulf in class between the two sides was plain to see in front of a mostly disappointed crowd of 31,985.

The only question mark surrounding the Magpies was whether Malthouse will remain at the club beyond this season.

Malthouse will hand over the coaching reins to assistant Nathan Buckley at the end of the season to take up a yet-to-be-defined technical director role.

But fresh reports speculate Malthouse isn't happy with the arrangement and will instead walk away, possibly paving the way for a return to coaching in 2013.

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