Jackson limps off as Demons beat Dockers

·3-min read

Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin has allayed any serious injury fears over Luke Jackson despite the emerging star limping off late in Friday night's 46-point AFL win over Fremantle at Optus Stadium.

Demons midfielder Jack Viney starred with 33 disposals and Bayley Fritsch and Kysaiah Pickett kicked three goals each to lift the defending premiers to the 12.13 (85) to 5.9 (39) win in front of 46,313 fans on Friday night.

Melbourne's 14th victory of the season ensured they will be at least a win clear of fifth spot by the end of the round.

But the victory was tempered by the sight of Jackson slowly making his way to the change rooms with just two minutes remaining.

Jackson, who is considering a switch to Fremantle next season, appeared to favour his heavily strapped right knee at times during the match.

But Goodwin said Jackson went off the ground due to a knock to the head, and there was no concern about his knee.

"He had a knock late in the game. We checked - and all clear," Goodwin said.

"Nothing wrong with him. He performed strongly. We put him in first ruck tonight, allowing Max (Gawn) to go forward at times.

"Between the two they did a magnificent job in the ruck and ahead of the footy."

Jackson finished the match with 13 disposals, seven hitouts and two clearances.

Fremantle could drop to as low as seventh by Sunday, leaving their top-four hopes hanging in the balance.

Even if the Dockers beat the Western Bulldogs, West Coast, and GWS in their remaining three matches, they will require some other results to fall their way in order to snare the double chance come finals time.

More questions will also be asked of Fremantle's inability to play well in wet and slippery conditions, with the Dockers' ball movement stagnant for most of the night against Melbourne.

Fremantle tagger James Aish did a solid job on Clayton Oliver, restricting the star onballer to 21 disposals and five clearances while tallying 28 possessions and seven clearances of his own.

But despite the Demons lacking the usual punch from Oliver, they boasted so many other winners around the ground that it didn't even matter.

Christian Petracca, Viney and Angus Brayshaw dominated the midfield battle, while Fritsch capitalised up forward when the game was up for grabs.

Fremantle's stagnant ball movement meant their forwards hardly got a look in.

Even when they did, Matt Taberner and Rory Lobb were ineffective, with Griffin Logue left to do much of the heavy lifting as a key target.

"Clearly Melbourne's contest method was better than ours," Fremantle coach Justin Longmuir said.

"They were cleaner, got the basics right and worked harder, contest to contest. That's the main point."

The rain hit two minutes into the match, and Melbourne adapted well to the slippery conditions to boot the opening three goals.

Petracca was left fuming when he received what looked to be an off-the-ball kidney punch from Fremantle ruckman Sean Darcy in the second quarter.

The star Demons midfielder remonstrated with Darcy at the next play, and some of his teammates joined in.

The inside 50m count read 36-16 in Melbourne's favour at halftime, with Fremantle lucky the margin wasn't bigger than 27 points.

Logue booted the opening goal of the third quarter, but from there it was all one-way traffic as Melbourne cruised to victory.

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