Fremantle Dockers youngster Andrew Brayshaw stars with career-best performance to ignite finals dream

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Braden QuartermaineThe West Australian
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The identity of Fremantle’s next captain became obvious as Andrew Brayshaw capped a career-best performance with an inspirational final minute to drag his teammates over the line against Richmond.
Camera IconThe identity of Fremantle’s next captain became obvious as Andrew Brayshaw capped a career-best performance with an inspirational final minute to drag his teammates over the line against Richmond. Credit: Daniel Carson/AFL Photos

The identity of Fremantle’s next captain became obvious in the space of 60 seconds, as Andrew Brayshaw capped a career-best performance with an inspirational final minute of willpower to drag his teammates over the line against Richmond.

Brayshaw simply refused to accept defeat as the Tigers repeatedly searched for a late winner, first stopping Jack Ross in his tracks with a brilliant tackle on the wing with a minute remaining.

The gutsy 21-year-old followed it up with clearances from both a boundary throw-in and ball-up inside Richmond’s attacking arc in the final 20 seconds, finishing with a career-high 39 disposals, eight clearances and 12 tackles.

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When the final siren finally sounded, the Dockers had got the four points by prevailing by four points, 7.13 (55) to 6.15 (51), at Optus Stadium.

Fremantle might have officially ended a dynasty while breathing life into their own September dreams.

In a game where wayward kicking from both teams symbolised the inability of a host of challengers to grasp a spot in the eight, the Tigers fell to their sixth defeat in their last seven outings to all-but end their finals hopes.

Andrew Brayshaw was sensational.
Camera IconAndrew Brayshaw was sensational. Credit: Daniel Carson/AFL Photos

The Dockers, who fielded the youngest team in the competition this weekend, are now reinvigorated ahead of a run home against Brisbane (home), West Coast and St Kilda (away).

In a game that was marred by some terrible skills in windy conditions before springing to life late, neither side managed a goal in the second quarter as the teams added 11 behinds between them for Fremantle to lead 2.10 to 1.8 at half-time.

Brayshaw was already leading from the front in the absence of skipper Nat Fyfe, starring with 20 first-half touches with sidekick Adam Cerra not far behind.

Fremantle dominated in close in the third term, winning the clearances 14-2 on the back of veteran David Mundy’s 12 disposals and three clearances.

The Dockers failed to turn it into scoreboard reward, as Matt Taberner struck to start and finish the quarter to keep their noses in front.

Fremantle won by four points.
Camera IconFremantle won by four points. Credit: Will Russell/AFL Photos

Playing his 100th game, Taberner needed just 25 seconds of the third term to end the run of 13 consecutive behinds when he snapped his second back across his body from hard up against the boundary line in the forward pocket. He ended the quarter by sweetly striking his third goal after the siren from the 50m arc.

Lachie Schultz added one from the goal line, after Caleb Serong’s theatrics tricked the umpire into paying a soft 50m penalty against Trent Cotchin.

Tom Lynch got on the board for the Tigers 11 minutes into the third stanza, but those three majors would remain the only three for the term as the Dockers took a 10-point lead to the final change.

Richmond took control to start the final term, with Kane Lambert’s running goal giving them the lead for the first time and dropping the Dockers from eighth to 12th on a congested live ladder.

When Jack Riewoldt followed it up Fremantle were suddenly in serious trouble trailing by nine points in such a low-scoring tussle, before Schultz responded with a screamer that had a hint of Riewoldt’s own mark of the year contender from several weeks ago about it.

Bailey Banfield was knocked out in the second quarter.
Camera IconBailey Banfield was knocked out in the second quarter. Credit: Paul Kane/via AFL Photos

When Travis Colyer’s enterprise set up Serong to snap truly at the 17-minute mark, the Dockers were back in front and the small crowd of less than 25,000 were rocking.

It would prove to be enough thanks to a dogged Brayshaw.

NEW-LOOK MIDFIELD

They might have been in their retro jumpers, but it was all about the future for Fremantle as they started the game with young quartet Sean Darcy, Cerra, Brayshaw and Caleb Serong in the centre square.

They repaid the faith, helping Fremantle to a resounding 35-20 clearance win and decisive 139-114 contested possession edge.

Brayshaw was immense, while Cerra posted a career-high 33 touches of his own to go with nine inside 50s and three score assists.

Darcy Tucker, who has played mainly in defence, and Liam Henry were also part of the midfield group. Henry faded in the second half but recorded a career-high 13 disposals after enjoying his run around on the wing.

BAD FOOTBALL

When Nathan Wilson missed his running shot on goal 18 minutes into the second quarter, the groan in the crowd was audible as the Dockers incrementally stretched their lead to 2.10 to 1.3.

Dockers great Matthew Pavlich had seen it all before.

“The crowd’s saying here we go again. It happens all too often this year,” Pavlich said.

Fremantle coach Justin Longmuir agreed inaccuracy was “the story of the year” for the Dockers at half-time.

The Tigers caught the bug though and when Lynch missed from 20m out directly in front late in the third term they had 2.13, soon to become 2.14.

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