If clichéd sports sayings were to be believed, the fat lady’s dulcet tones were reverberating in the West when the Fremantle Dockers were pitted against the Geelong Cats in their elimination final last night. As a club, the Dockers are more attuned to putting their feet up in September lamenting where they went wrong, but against the odds, the young team from Fremantle produced one of the biggest finals upsets in recent memory. And here I was thinking that Collingwood were the only team capable of a finals shake up.
The lesson for any team to take from the Dockers fearless performance, particularly any team facing Hawthorn in the next month, is to lead out strong. A team like the Dockers is never going to chase down Geelong but last night we saw that if you fluster the opposition, even a team with the finals experience of Geelong, they will make mistakes. The Dockers’ ace up their sleeve was Matthew Pavlich, who was able to capitalise on the Cats’ errors and boot six goals. Next week sees the Dockers travel to Adelaide to face the shell-shocked Crows. It’s shaping up as a dream run as the Crows are vulnerable and the bookies and fans will give the Dockers a better chance then they had against the Cats. In what has been, to this point at least, a fairly predictable finals series in both codes, the Dockers have proven that finals football is a fresh start and have reinvigorated fan interest in premiership race that seemed all but won.
Gotta love an underdog.