Longmuir laments Dockers' listless start

Jason Phelan
Dockers coach Justin Longmuir was proud yet disappointed after their six-point loss to Essendon

Fremantle coach Justin Longmuir has been left scratching his head by his team's sluggish start after the Dockers' late charge against Essendon fell six points short.

The Bombers led by as much as 28 points in the third quarter on Saturday afternoon before the Dockers rattled home only to suffer a 9.9 (63) to 8.9 (57) loss at an empty Marvel Stadium.

"I was so proud of them for coming back but so disappointed in them for starting the way that we did," Longmuir said after his first game as senior coach for premiership points.

"(Essendon) looked up for it more than us, their effort around the ball was better, they won the ball, they got outside too easily and our backs didn't hold up.

"It just took a little bit of time for us to settle into the game.

"We looked a little bit better with our composure in the second and third quarters, we weren't as rattled as what we looked early.

"We'll have to reflect on what we did (in the lead up) and make sure that our players are better prepared to get on the front foot."

Nat Fyfe led the way with 26 touches and Sam Sturt tallied three majors in a promising AFL debut.

"He was fantastic," Longmuir said of Sturt.

"The thing we've been telling him all pre-season is that if his defensive intent is there then he'll get his lick of the ice cream on the scoreboard.

"He got that with three goals but his chase, tackle and pressure was probably the best in our team.

"He never gave up a chase and good on him because he's worked really hard."