Fremantle have overcome a six-goal Lance Franklin masterclass to post a two-point AFL win over Sydney at a slippery Optus Stadium.
Franklin had three goals to his name by halftime in Saturday night’s match, and he booted another three in a pulsating final term to give Sydney a four-point lead with five minutes remaining.
But the game had one final twist, with Fremantle skipper Nat Fyfe booting what turned out to be the winning goal a minute later.
Fyfe, who entered the match with 2.16 to his name, threw the ball onto his boot from 20 metres out while falling to ground after receiving the tap from ruckman Sean Darcy.
The 12.14 (86) to 13.6 (84) win snapped a three-game losing streak for Fremantle (5-5).
Franklin finished with 6.1 and 10 marks from 18 disposals in a performance that mirrored his first appearance at Optus Stadium in 2018 when he kicked eight goals in a match-winning display against West Coast.
“It was a great tussle,” Fremantle coach Justin Longmuir said of Griffin Logue’s battle against Franklin.
“We were thinking about changing the match up. But for Griff’s development, it was great for him to play on him and I thought he was winning enough big moments himself.”
Fyfe was monumental for the Dockers with 27 possessions, 13 clearances and the go-ahead goal, while Rory Lobb booted four goals and took four contested marks.
The win came at a cost for Fremantle, who lost spearhead Matt Taberner in the third quarter with a right ankle injury.
Sydney lost defender Robbie Fox in the second quarter after he was accidentally poked in the eye.
“He was fantastic,” Swans coach John Longmire said of Franklin.
“It’s great to see him in that sort of form.”
Franklin booted two goals in the opening quarter to set the tone – the second of which was a bomb from beyond the arc.
The 34-year-old produced another magical moment in the second quarter when he nailed a goal on the run from 60m.
The ball took one bounce before going through the goal and ending up in the cooler bag that holds the spare balls.
The lead was 21 points when Will Hayward scored from close range a minute later, but a Michael Walters goal reduced the margin to 15 points at half-time.
Tempers flared as the teams headed for the rooms, with Franklin’s jersey ripped in half after he was caught in a stand-off with Fremantle defender Luke Ryan.
Fremantle booted 4.5 to 0.1 during a dominant third quarter, with Fyfe tallying nine possessions and three clearances for the term to give the Dockers a 13-point lead.
But Franklin switched the momentum in a topsy-turvy final term.
He nailed a 55m bomb at the seven-minute mark, and three minutes later gave Sydney the lead courtesy of a soft free kick.
Fremantle rookie Josh Treacy launched his own 55m goal to give the Dockers back the lead, but Franklin snatched it back for Sydney when he juggled a mark 15m out from goal and then played on to snap truly.
Fyfe returned fire from a stoppage with four minutes to go, and Dockers defender Luke Ryan made a crucial spoil with 18 seconds remaining to snuff out Sydney’s last roll of the dice.