Geelong’s AFL premiership defence has ended with a whimper as a Matthew Pavlich-inspired Fremantle developed a beautiful elimination final upset at the MCG on Saturday night.
The Dockers kicked the game’s very first seven targets then answered each Cats comeback try to win 14.twelve (96) to eleven.14 (80).
Pavlich kicked six goals, three of the initial 5 then 3 crucial last-half majors to destroy off Geelong’s resistance.
Midfielders Nathan Fyfe and David Mundy have been excellent, whilst feisty forward Hayden Ballantyne kicked 3 telling majors.
Defender Zac Dawson assisted turn Cats star forward Tom Hawkins into a non-aspect despite the absence of injured Fremantle backman Luke McPharlin.
It was just the third finals win in Fremantle’s AFL historical past and puts them into a semi-last at AAMI Stadium on Friday evening against an Adelaide side coming off a hefty loss to Sydney.
The Dockers’ emergence as a substantial finals player helps vindicate the club’s daring move in poaching coach Ross Lyon from St Kilda at the end of final season.
The end result consigned the Cats, who won 3 flags in the prior five years in their best-ever era, to their worst season since 2006, when then-coach Mark Thompson practically lost his task just before overseeing the commence of their golden period.
It also means star defender Matthew Scarlett, believed to be retiring, finished on an uncharacteristically flat note as part of a well beaten Cats defence.
Scarlett led his defeated crew off the MCG.
With all their finals knowledge, the Cats had been heavily favoured and anticipated to present better composure than the Dockers.
Rather, Fremantle reduce them apart early, kicking 5 targets to none in the game’s opening 20 minutes, all from marks.
That integrated 3 to Pavlich, who outclassed opponent Tom Lonergan, as the Cats’ defence was repeatedly pierced.
The Dockers led five.seven to .one at the first change and kicked the initial two objectives of the 2nd phrase to push 48 factors clear.
Andrew Mackie lastly kicked the Cats’ 1st objective at the 18-moment mark, sparking a rush of three in four minutes.
The Cats added an additional two early in the second half to shut to inside 20 points, just before Pavlich answered with a nerveless set shot from outside 50m.
Geelong kicked yet another, just before Pavlich yet again responded following a exceptional half-volley pick-up and turn.
When the Cats closed to inside 17 points late in the last phrase, it was yet again Pavlich who had the answer, with a sidestep and sealing aim.