Fyfe stars as Dockers sink Bulldogs in AFL

Justin Chadwick

Fremantle skipper Nat Fyfe put on a midfield masterclass for the Dockers who have cruised to a 54-point victory over a hapless Western Bulldogs outfit at Optus Stadium.

Fyfe collected a career-high 43 disposals, tallied 13 clearances and booted a goal in on Saturday night's 16.12 (108) to 8.6.(54) rout in front of 43,056 fans.

Goalsneak Michael Walters was dominant with five goals, while ruckman Aaron Sandilands (53 hit-outs) ensured Fremantle easily won the midfield battle.

The Bulldogs had shown good fight over the past fortnight against Essendon and Sydney, but they fell into a heap against the Dockers, who were fielding five first-year players.

Ugly errors and bad decision-making haunted the Bulldogs. They slump to 1-4 and face a second-straight season without finals action.

Bulldogs forward Tom Boyd, playing his first match of the year, was mobbed by his teammates after booting a 55m goal in the opening term.

But he was starved of supply for most of the match and finished with two goals from seven disposals.

Fyfe was a star - both in the dry and the wet.

When rain tumbled during the second quarter, Fyfe tallied 12 disposals and four clearances, with his performance boosting his Brownlow Medal hopes.

Walters booted two goals in the opening term to give Fremantle a 16-point edge.

After his first goal, Walters pointed to the sky and tapped his blackarm band in tribute to former Docker Shane Yarran, who died on Friday at the age of 28.

Matt Taberner was on fire in the opening term, taking five marks and booting a goal.

But his game ended late in the quarter when he injured his left leg.

The Bulldogs were dealt an injury blow of their own early in the second quarter when veteran Tory Dickson tore his left hamstring.

The margin was just 18 points at halftime, but the Bulldogs were embarrassed in the third quarter as the Dockers took control.

Fremantle booted six goals to one for the term, slicing through the Bulldogs' defence with ease.

Walters' fourth goal - when Easton Wood was left to defend three players close to goal - highlighted the Bulldogs' woes.

The margin ballooned to 50 points by three-quarter time, and the final term lacked any real intensity.

Bulldogs defender Aaron Naughton bravely returned to the field in the last quarter after copping a knee to the face from a teammate.