2019-04-29 by W.M.
Fremantle loses Nat Fyfe to concussion in AFL win over Saints as Hawks, Suns post round 3 victories
Nat Fyfe is helped off the field by Dockers support staff after suffering concussion. (AAP: Tony McDonough)
The Dockers’ triumph over the Saints is soured by a concussion suffered by Nat Fyfe, while the Hawks and Suns celebrate their respective AFL wins over the Kangaroos and Bulldogs.
Fyfe concussed as Dockers beat Saints
Fremantle captain Nat Fyfe has copped a sickening concussion, as the Dockers overcame a late scare to beat St Kilda by five points in their clash in Perth.
The Dockers ended up holding off the visitors for a 11.5 (71) to 9.12 (66) victory on Sunday.
Fyfe’s day ended midway through the third quarter when he clashed heads with St Kilda’s Josh Battle.
The star Docker lay dazed on the ground for more than a minute, and was so concussed that he could not stand up by himself.
Two trainers had to effectively carry Fyfe from the field given how wobbly he was on his feet.
The heavy hit puts Fyfe’s availability for next Saturday’s western derby in doubt.
Fremantle initially looked set for an easy victory after opening up a 31-point lead early in the second quarter.
But the Saints clawed their way back into the contest, and scored two late goals to close to within five points with just eight seconds remaining.
St Kilda tried to flout the 6-6-6 law by throwing an extra player forward at the final bounce, but the umpires were aware of the ploy and called the Saints player back to his right spot.
Fremantle won the ensuing centre bounce to the seal victory.
Dockers forward Jesse Hogan could come under scrutiny for a head-high bump on Nathan Brown in the second quarter.
The pair were running side by side chasing a loose ball when Hogan delivered a hip-and-shoulder that caught Brown a tad high.
Brown went to the rooms for assessment, but was able to return in the third quarter.
Michael Walters starred for Fremantle with 27 disposals, eight clearances and two goals, while Luke Ryan (32 disposals) was a rock in defence.
Jack Billings notched 32 touches and two goals for the Saints, with Jade Gresham (20 disposals, two goals) also important.
Hawks bounce Kangaroos at the MCG
Luke Breust has bagged five goals and Chad Wingard introduced himself to Hawthorn fans with three majors in a scrappy 16-point win over North Melbourne at the MCG.
The Hawks overcame a slow start to record a 13.9 (87) to 10.11 (71) win in front of 36,174 spectators on Sunday that left the Kangaroos’ season floundering at 0-3.
Alastair Clarkson’s men trailed by 27 points early in the second quarter but worked their way into the contest and finished strongly with five goals in the last quarter.
In his first game since crossing from Port Adelaide, Wingard started slowly but flashed trademark brilliance in attack, with his superb snapped goal in the final term icing the contest.
Hawthorn bounced back from a disappointing loss to the Western Bulldogs without former skipper Jarryd Roughead who was a late withdrawal with a corked thigh, Dylan Moore making his AFL debut in his place.
Jaeger O’Meara was outstanding again with 32 possessions and 12 tackles, with Ricky Henderson also prominent with 29 touches and a goal.
Shaun Higgins (35 disposals) and Ben Cunnington (33) were important for the Kangaroos, but too many of Brad Scott’s players went missing late.
The Kangaroos were patient with their movement in the first quarter, content to deny the opposition the ball then launch quickfire attacks that netted them four goals to lead by 19 points at the first break.
Nine Hawks had just one disposal in the first term, but their work rate lifted.
Wingard’s first touch for his new club was a turnover, then he gave away a 50-metre penalty, but he redeemed himself with his first goal that sparked a fight back.
Breust received treatment for a corked hip early in the second quarter but returned to boot back-to-back goals to slash the Kangaroos’ lead to nine points at half-time.
The contest had not reached any great heights as a spectacle in the first half and it did not improve after the restart, but that suited the Hawks who continued to grind away at the Kangaroos’ lead.
It came as no surprise when Breust put his side in front again with his third.
Cunnington continued to fly the flag for the Kangaroos, helping them finish the quarter strongly to trail by one point heading into the final term.
But with two goals each to Breust and Wingard, Hawthorn bounced out to a 27-point lead before easing to the line to improve to a 2-1 record.
Suns end Bulldogs’ winning start
Gold Coast has held off the Western Bulldogs in the last few minutes to win by five points at Docklands in Melbourne.
The 10.12 (73) to 9.14 (68) win is the third-straight Suns match decided by a goal or less.
They lost to St Kilda by one point in round one and beat Fremantle last week by three points.
Gold Coast led from the start and held on grimly, as the Bulldogs kicked the last two goals of the match.
After kicking a goal earlier in the final term, Billy Gowers had a set shot with a minute and 20 seconds left to tie the scores but his kick from a 45-degree angle went wide.
Universally tipped preseason to finish down the ladder, the Suns have started impressively and it is the first loss for the Bulldogs.
Alex Sexton starred in his 100th match and Suns teammate Jack Martin was also outstanding, while Bulldogs midfield ace Marcus Bontempelli had a match-high 34 disposals.
The Suns dominated the centre clearances early and put the Bulldogs under immediate pressure, kicking four goals in 15 minutes for a 24-point lead.
Jarrod Witts was strong from the start in the ruck, while Martin and Chris Burgess were causing headaches for the Bulldogs defence.
The Bulldogs rallied with two goals late in the opening term, but were 24 down at quarter-time.
Players repeatedly turned the ball over despite the perfect conditions and clearly struggled with the sun glare as the stadium roof was kept open.
After a strong opening quarter, it was the Suns’ turn to feel the heat as the Bulldogs repeatedly went into attack.
Two goals reduced the margin to nine points, but the Dogs were struggling to find fluency in attack.
Inevitably, a Gold Coast counter-attack paid off and captain David Swallow kicked a crucial goal.
Summing up the Bulldogs’ day, Ed Richards was running into an open goal when the halftime siren beat him by a second.
Swallow also kicked Gold Coast’s only goal of the third quarter as they kept the Bulldogs at arm’s length and took a 19-point lead into the last term.