Fremantle substitute coach Jaymie Graham hailed his side’s maturity after overcoming the absence of coach Justin Longmuir and a host of key players to crush the West Coast 15.12 (102) to 7 .5 (47).
The Dockers were in the unique position of being led by Graham while Justin Longmuir was isolated having only joined the club during pre-season. They were also missing captain Nat Fyfe, games record holder David Mundy, Doig medalist Sean Darcy and 2020 rising star Caleb Serong.
The squad included debutant Neil Erasmus, second player Nathan O’Driscoll and five other youngsters who had yet to play 20 games.
Lachie Schultz won the Glendinning-Allan medal in his 47th game after winning 23 possessions and scoring two goals.
“We were really proud of the performance of the boys. We thought it was a mature performance considering we were one of the younger teams in the competition this weekend,” Graham said.
“There have been a lot of changes and the landscape is changing in the AFL at the moment with COVID. It’s a young group and our leaders are really important. AP (Alex Pearce) drove it forward, but it was also some of our senior players. Tabs coming back was handy, Aishy, Luke Ryan, it helps and it just coaches the young guys.
“The boys have worked hard and the club must have a consistent hallmark across the board. We are also looking for consistency in our performance.
Fremantle suffered a huge scare when Darcy Tucker left the field on the stretcher after being tackled early in the third quarter.
Players from both teams showed immediate concern for Tucker and Graham said medical staff were still investigating what happened.
“Obviously it was scary. We were very worried about his health,” Graham said.
“He’s in the bedrooms. He’s pretty bubbly and he said everything was fine but I think they’re going to have to investigate that one a bit further.
“I don’t even know if he hit his head. We are not sure. All I can say is that he is healthy and that is the main thing.
After serving as head coach of the Dockers and Eagles, Graham is undefeated from his two opportunities. Longmuir had remote access to the coach’s box to provide commentary, but the pair did not speak during the game.
Graham was not interested in taking credit for the win.
“It’s not about me. It’s about the club,” he said.