At the other end of the field Josh Kennedy and Jack Darling were irresistible targets while Elliot Yeo, Tim Kelly, Andrew Gaff and Jack Redden turned the screws on West Coast’s comparatively lightweight engine room.
Fremantle began the final term with a quick goal to Rory Lobb and then two bad misses – to Lobb and Matt Taberner – which excited the majority of the 25,306 fans at Optus Stadium, although Kennedy won a free kick near goal and converted to snuff out that challenge.
The Eagles win meant they’d triumphed in the last 10 clashes between the rivals, the first time this had ever happened since their first clash in 1995.
This victory shows that West Coast are over their early season flat spot after a rough time in their Queensland hub away from family and friends.
Next week the Eagles will have the crowd behind them at Optus Stadium against another form side and premiership contender, Collingwood.
Luke Shuey, a late withdrawal from Sunday’s game, should be fit for that match and should West Coast win it the Eagles will likely shoot into favouritism for the flag.
Coach Adam Simpson said Shuey was prepared to play in the Derby but the Eagles were happy to take a conservative approach to give his hamstring extra time to recover.
“He was really close [to playing]. I have just been looking around the competition at the moment [with the number of soft tissue injuries] and he put his hand up to play, we gave him a really good fitness test but overnight we decided to take the precaution.
“He’ll play next week for sure.”
The Pies will be missing Jordan De Goey (hand) for the match and for the medium term at least but have the option of bringing Mason Cox back into the side who was a late out (managed) for their win over Geelong.
It’s possible that West Coast will have the advantage of playing every remaining match for the season – including finals and even potentially the grand final – at Optus Stadium, as a result of travel restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.
FREMANTLE 2.0 4.1 4.1 5.2 (32)
WEST COAST 2.2 6.4 8.7 9.8 (62)
GOALS – Fremantle: Taberner 2, Lobb 2, Frederick
West Coast: Kennedy 4, Darling 2, Waterman 2, Cameron
BEST – Fremantle: Walters, Brayshaw, Lobb, Taberner
West Coast:Gaff, Kennedy, Sheppard, Nelson, Yeo, Waterman, Kelly, Hurn
INJURIES – Fremantle: TBC
West Coast: Shuey (hamstring) replaced in selected side by Ainsworth
Anthony is a sports reporter at The Age.