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West Coast Eagles

Last time we met the Dockers

Last time we met the Dockers West Coast dominated the Dockers to the tune of 58 points in Round 20 last year

For a little more than two quarters this game was meandering along.

The West Coast Eagles, having held off a spirited opening from Fremantle, had the situation under control. By early in the third quarter they had skipped out to such a significant break they were never going to be reeled in.

It was simply of matter of playing out the game, hopefully without incurring an injury, banking the four points and moving onto the next challenge.

Unfortunately, that uneventful afternoon was transformed in the middle of the third quarter when West Coast wingman Andrew Gaff clashed with Fremantle youngster Andrew Brayshaw.

That off-the-ball incident would dominate discussion around this game for the next week. Even longer. Probably forever.

Gaff threw out his left arm, trying to hit Brayshaw in the chest in a quest to create some separation to run down the ground and get into a position to receive the ball. It was a poorly-executed strike that missed Brayshaw’s shoulder and hit the young Docker flush in the face.

The hit dislodged three of Brayshaw’s teeth, fractured his jaw and ended his season.

Gaff’s season was also over when he fronted the AFL tribunal two days later and was subsequently suspended for eight weeks. The most unimaginable villain in club history would play no further part in the 2018 campaign and was the target of some of the worst kind of vitriolic attention from the main stream media and social media’s band of keyboard warriors.

Spectators at the game had not seen the incident replayed on the big screen and were bemused by constant Fremantle attacks on – to that point of his 175-game career – one of the most focused ball players in the history of the game.

While that was playing out, the Eagles continued to march towards victory.

It was based around domination in all areas of the ground.

The midfield was controlled by Elliot Yeo, who would win the first Glendinning-Allan Medal, in conjunction with Jack Redden, Gaff and Luke Shuey while up forward Jack Darling and Jamie Cripps kicked four each and Liam Ryan was again a headache for the Dockers’ defence.

Brad Sheppard, Shannon Hurn, Tom Barrass and Jeremy McGovern owned the skies and the ground when the ball ventured inside the Eagles’ defensive zone – Sheppard pulling down an impressive 12 marks.

Round 20 v Fremantle
Sunday, August 5

West Coast Eagles            4.4          9.7          16.10    21.16     142
Fremantle                           1.2          4.4            8.6          13.6       84
Goals – West Coast Eagles: Cripps, Darling 4; Ryan 3; Lycett, Yeo, Vardy, Rioli 2; Redden, Gaff.
Fremantle: Matera, Taberner, McCarthy, Walters 2; Cox, Ballantyne, Langdon, Darcy, Neale.