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Dockers hold off Demons in AFL pre-season

AAP

AAP

Fremantle escaped with a scrappy 18-point AFL pre-season win over Melbourne at Fremantle Oval – but not without the NAB Challenge injury curse again striking.

Fresh from West Coast’s Eric Mackenzie and Western Bulldogs’ Tom Liberatore suffering season-ending knee injuries last weekend, the Dockers lost veteran defender Paul Duffield to what appeared to be a serious shoulder injury late in the 0.9.7 (61) to 0.6.7 (43) win over Melbourne.

Despite the warm conditions and scrappy contest, there were good signs for both teams, particularly up forward.

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Captain Matthew Pavlich and Matt Taberner kicked three goals apiece for Fremantle and with Michael Walters and Hayden Ballantyne at their feet, that could prove to be an effective set up if Taberner continues to stand up.

Lachie Neale had 28 possessions for the Dockers with Tendai Mzungu collecting 21, Clancee Pearce 19, Nick Suban 18 and Cameron Sutcliffe 17.

Heritier Lumumba

Heritier Lumumba played well in his debut for the Demons. Photo: Getty

Stephen Hill had 23 but only six in the second half with Melbourne veteran Daniel Cross shutting him down.

The Demons were finally able to unveil the much-vaunted Jesse Hogan and he managed one goal and showed enough to suggest he can have an impact if he stays fit.

With Chris Dawes, they could be a good two-pronged tall set-up but the Demons will want more out of Carlton recruit Jeff Garlett who was held goalless.

Heritier Lumumba was more impressive in his Melbourne debut with the Collingwood premiership player racking up 19 possessions while captain Nathan Jones had 23, Dom Tyson 21 and Cross 19.

Melbourne kicked three of the first four goals, but Fremantle were on top before quarter-time to lead by a point.

The Dockers kicked four goals to just one behind in the second quarter, with Pavlich having three and Taberner two respectively to halftime.

Fremantle were in control by 26 points at the main break but the game took a complete twist after halftime with Melbourne running a lot harder, and earning the rewards.

Dean Kent got things started in the opening minute and then Hogan showed Demons fans why they should be so excited about him with a good set shot goal.

By the five-minute mark, Tyson added another goal for Melbourne and by three quarter-time the margin was just five points with the Dockers managing the one behind for the term.

The Dockers were able to regroup, though, and kick the only two goals of the final quarter to win by 18 points.

-AAP

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