The Suns had the better of the contest for much of the first quarter, going inside attack on 21 occasions, but struggling to find a reliable target. It wasn’t until the 21st minute that they had their first goal, Touk Miller sharking a ball from a stoppage as his opponent Brad Hill hit the deck.
Two minutes later, the dangerous Alex Sexton had his first, and the home side was looking better, but Rory Lobb kept the margin to a point at quarter time after converting a free kick from the boundary. Both sides were wasting opportunities going forward, but Fremantle had the better spread of options.
The Suns continued to dominate possession in the second quarter, even as Nat Fyfe began to take control of the clearances in the middle for the Dockers. An upset loomed: as good as the Dockers were last week, they won only one game away from home last year, and the turnovers, especially at half-forward, were mounting up.
And Alex Sexton, who extended his contract during the week, was emerging as the most dangerous player on the ground. After three goals last week against St Kilda, the unheralded small forward had another three to half-time, both sharp snaps around his body.
From there, the Suns should have buried the Dockers. They dominated much of the third quarter, as they piled on the pressure – and the behinds, seven of them in a row, including four to Sexton. Fremantle had hardly had it inside their own half, but eventually they made the Suns pay, with goals to McCarthy and Taberner.
Still, so lacklustre were the Dockers that the home side remained only nine points down. Travis Colyer’s second goal looked like putting enough distance between the sides in a low-scoring game, but a frantic last 10 minutes from the Suns was enough to secure them a rare four points.
The hulking forward didn’t play a big game, but importantly started at times in the centre, forming in a massive centre square combination with Nathan Fyfe and David Mundy. He finished with serviceable 21 possessions and a couple of clearances, and according to cliché, should be better for the run. It will be interesting to see if coach Ross Lyon continues to use him as a shock weapon in the middle.
Sexton was a unrestricted free agent at the end of this season until he re-signed with the Suns until 2023 mid-week. A crafty player, it’s interesting to consider his potential and value might have been at a higher profile team. In the end, his night summed up his side: the most dangerous player on the ground, he nearly kicked the game away, but his fourth goal was the one that secured victory.
Gold Coast 2.4 4.8 4.16 7.19 (61)
Fremantle 2.3 4.5 7.7 8.10 (58)
GOALS – Gold Coast: Sexton 4, Miller, Martin, Swallow.
Fremantle: Taberner 2, McCarthy 2, Colyer 2, Lobb, Walters.
BEST – Gold Coast: Harbrow, Martin, Sexton, Swallow, Bowes, Witts.
Fremantle: Hill, Fyfe, Wilson, Taberner, Langdon, Colyer.
Injuries – Gold Coast:. Fremantle:.
Umpires: Ryan O’Gorman Brown.
Crowd: 10,119 at Metricon Stadium.
B Hill (Fremantle) 7
J Harbrow (GCS) 7
J Martin (GCS) 7
A Sexton (GCS) 7
N Fyfe (Fremantle) 7