You could work out what sort of attitude Fremantle were taking into the scratch match against Carlton when they decided to name the captain based on who'd had the most recent birthday. Rocking up without a forward tall enough to ride the racing cars at Adventure World, half a midfield (most of who were puffed from the walk to the middle) and a defence relying on the competency of Zac Dawson; Fremantle weren't staking any claims on the night premiership.
The instructions from the coach in the first quarter seemed to be for the players to keep their distance from the footy and just get plenty of run into the legs, which made for a disappointing scoreboard but a great display of discipline. So by quarter time Freo were 34 points down with just one goal, from a free kick, to their name.
Discipline appeared to improve in the second quarter with the Fremantle players getting even less of the ball as they struggled to win a clearance, lay a tackle, win a marking contest or even or stumble upon a loose footy behind the goals and trick the umpire into thinking it was the game ball.
The second half saw the Freo players get into the action slightly more, with Carlton prepared to rest on their 10 goals of laurels, but quality football was still hard to find with the game meandering out to a 70 point loss for Fremante...either a good wake up call for the Dockers or a cunning strategy by Ross Lyon to get Carlton into a NAB Cup Grand Final and then sit back and watch the choking as the season goes on.
There were plenty of good signs from some of the younger players as they fight it out for the love of their coach in the pre-season games as well as some standout older blokes. Lee Spurr put his hand up to become an integral part of the backline (or at the very least given an infection from a needle then sent back to the WAFL to become a forward), Danyle Pearce once again set the standard for attacking football, Clancee Pearce kept fighting for his position and Tanner Smith rocked up at the end of the game to take a pretty good mark. The Griffin-Mundy-Fyfe chemistry looks like it will need some work until Sandilands gets back.
Fremantle's next scratch match will be next Saturday afternoon in the lush surrounds of Rushton Park, home of the Hayden Ballantyne Wing.