AAP AFL

Demons crush Dockers in Darwin AFL clash

By AAP Newswire

Melbourne overcame a major case of the goalkicking yips to post a 54-point AFL win over Fremantle in humid conditions in Darwin on Saturday night.

The Demons dominated Fremantle from the outset, but their poor goalkicking was costly early.

Melbourne's score read 2.11 (23) during the second quarter, with the Dockers trailing by just three points at that time.

But the Demons eventually found their range to post the 13.24 (102) to 7.6 (48) win in front of 8689 fans, snapping their three-game losing run.

Melbourne won the inside 50m count 78-28, the clearances 42-28, and contested possessions 177-129, but their inaccuracy cost them the chance to post a triple-figure win.

"We had too many people missing goals from straight in front," Demons ruckman Max Gawn said, also referencing his own simple set shot he sprayed.

"It's disappointing. The first half we had complete dominance, and kicking 2.9 in the first quarter - it could have been a lot better."

The win moved Melbourne (9-6) up to sixth spot on the ladder, while the Dockers (6-9) are in 13th.

Fremantle, minus Nat Fyfe and Aaron Sandilands, were outclassed for a second week in the row, following on from their 55-point loss to Brisbane.

The temperature was still above 25 degrees when the game kicked off at 7.10pm local time, and the players tired towards the end of each quarter.

Melbourne's goalkicking woes bordered on comical during the first half.

When Dockers goalsneak Michael Walters snapped truly in the second quarter, Fremantle trailed by just four points despite having only 11 inside 50s compared to Melbourne's 31.

But as soon as the Demons found their range, they converted it into scoreboard dominance.

Goals to Nathan Jones, Jeff Garlett, and Tom McDonald gave the Demons a 19-point lead at half-time.

Fremantle had just 13 inside 50s in the first half, and the Dockers continued to struggle in the third quarter as the lead ballooned to 37 points.

A goal to Gawn after the three-quarter time siren killed off a mini Fremantle fightback, and the floodgates opened in the final quarter.

Gawn finished with 41 hitouts, 20 disposals, and a goal, while Clayton Oliver (35 disposals, two goals) was also influential.

Dockers wingman Stephen Hill finished with 25 disposals and 10 tackles in his 200th game.

Melbourne co-captain Nathan Jones was proud of the way his players broke their losing streak.

"I felt like today we got back on track," Jones told Foxtel.

"The guys were honest and put their hand up and took responsibility (during the week), and worked on the areas we needed to work on."