Luke McPharlin
Luke McPharlin

Matthew Pavlich's 500th career goal was a rare highlight in Fremantle's uninspiring but comfortable 40-point win over Port Adelaide at Patersons Stadium on Sunday.

The Dockers captain became just the 51st AFL player to reach the milestone when he slotted a difficult set shot from the pocket with less than four minutes left in the 12.15 (87) to 7.5 (47) victory.

But Fremantle were still far from convincing in a horribly wasteful and error-riddled display, which was their second lacklustre effort against a bottom-four side in as many weeks.

While the Power were in the contest on the scoreboard until a late Dockers flurry, in reality only Fremantle's inefficiency kept it close for so long as the visitors also struggled with crucial skill and decision-making errors in their sixth consecutive loss.

Under-pressure coach Matthew Primus saw some improvement from his side on the back of a week of turmoil, yet there were still plenty of reasons for frustration highlighted by a goalless stretch which lasted from 14 minutes into the first quarter until seven minutes into the third.

John McCarthy impressed for the Power with 30 possessions but there were far too few strong contributors for Port Adelaide, who lost Aaron Young to an ankle injury in the final quarter.

The Dockers dominated the inside 50s 55-36 in addition to owning the scoring shots yet couldn't reflect that on the scoreboard in an all-too-familiar story, even though forwards Pavlich (four goals and 10 marks) and Chris Mayne (three majors) both enjoyed strong games.

Clancee Pearce continued his resurgence with 26 possessions, while Stephen Hill (26 disposals and six clearances) also shone for Ross Lyon's men.

Port had the unusually small crowd in stunned silence after booting three of the first four goals and holding the ball in their forward 50 for a huge chunk of the opening 15 minutes.

It should have been an even bigger Power buffer as John Butcher missed a routine set shot, but it was the Dockers' abysmal wastefulness in front of goal and entering forward 50 that ensured the two were level at quarter-time.

Fremantle had the last eight scoring shots of the first quarter but ended with only one goal, yet they finally stamped their authority on the game with the only four majors of the second and ended the half up by 23.

Port threatened to get back into the contest with two of the first three goals to start the third, but Mayne kicked three late majors and Aaron Sandilands and Pavlich both also split the middle to ensure a comfortable margin.

FREMANTLE 2.8, 6.9, 8.14, 12.15 (87)
PORT ADELAIDE 3.2, 3.4, 6.4, 7.5 (47)

GOALS: FREMANTLE: Pavlich 4, Mayne 3, Ballantyne, Crowley, De Boer, Pearce, Sandilands
PORT ADELAIDE: Butcher 2, Broadbent 2, Brad Ebert, Stewart, Westhoff
BEST: FREMANTLE: Pearce, Hill, McPharlin, Crowley, Pavlich, Mayne, Sandilands
PORT ADELAIDE: McCarthy, Broadbent, Brad Ebert, Cassisi, Boak
INJURIES: Fremantle: Nil
Port Adelaide: Young (ankle)
UMPIRES: Ritchie, Margetts, Dalgleish
CROWD: 30,079 at Patersons Stadium


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