You may think David ‘Barra’ Mundy playing his 350th game is the biggest milestone for the Fremantle Dockers this week, but there’s one milestone they’re also bringing up when they play the Sydney Swans at Carrara – Their 600th game since entering the AFL as the red-headed bastard step child of Western Australian football, during which time their more successful older brothers across town and their fans kept reminding Fremantle how many premierships they’d won.
Of course, the story of ‘Dockers’ nickname goes back to 1994, when the men in suits were trying to find suggestions for a nickname for the new Fremantle club, with the tentative choice being “Fremantle Sharks”, which would’ve gone down well with everyone at East Fremantle and South Fremantle, while Dolphins and Mariners were also suggestions, although one old codger suggested something else to Sam Newman during Street Talk, which has stuck in some circles here in Perth:
If by chance you ever hear someone, probably an Eagles fan, call Fremantle the ‘Shitfish’, that clip is where that joke began.
Of course, after much deciding, they settled on the ‘Dockers’ as a nod to Freo’s history as a port city, which promptly led to a lawsuit from Levi Strauss & Co. who produce the Dockers clothing brand, which meant Fremantle couldn’t officially use the nickname ‘Dockers’ in any official capacity until 2010, when the two sides finally came to an agreement, and Freo coincided that by changing to the all-purple colours they have now.
So on that note, in celebration of a fine achievement, here’s a few memorable, and often bizzare moments over those 599 games… Many of them involving controversies against St Kilda:
When umpire Peter Carey took a mark in 1999
It needs no further explanation:
Sirengate in Launceston (Round 5, 2006)
With the result being amended a few days later, the win against Hawthorn at York Park in Round 17 of this year was the first time Fremantle have ever been able to sing ‘Freo Way To Go’ in Tasmania.
Baiting Fraser Gehrig into giving away a 150 metre penalty in the same game
Featuring none other than a young David Mundy getting belted in the head by the G-Train.
When they ran out through an inflatable shipping container against the Eagles before the inaugural Western Derby
The pre-game ceremonial hauling of the anchor, because that’s what you want from a team named after tough, unionised wharfies
Ryan Crowley and Steve Johnson trying to shake hands after the 2013 Qualifying Final
When a young Phil Davis went back with the flight in a marking contest as Aaron Sandilands prepared to turn him into roadkill
The most important part, besides the fact that he lived, was that Davis held the mark.
Matthew Pavlich telling his teammates to put on your Superman capes, because IT’S WHARFIE TIME
Didn’t quite work that night, because Hawthorn rolled them.
Hosting what effectively was Fitzroy’s footballing funeral in Round 22, 1996
Performing Auld Lang Syne at a footy game… Wild times.
Hayden Ballantyne Productions presents ‘Man Getting Hit By Football’
This contest is over, give that man the $10,000!
The sheer violence of the 2000 Demolition Derby
The greatest Derby in history started with the Ali vs Frazier tribute fight between Pavlich and Michael Gardner before the opening bounce, and that short left arm jab got Gardiner a 2 game suspension:
Followed by Dale Kickett hitting anything that breathed in the infamous all-in brawl at half-time:
Completing the memorable game, led by 7 goals to Clive Waterhouse, Freo came from 42 points down in the 3rd Quarter to win by a point after Darren Glass couldn’t quite trap Peter Matera’s kick in front of an open goal:
Pav outscoring West Coast in a Western Derby (Round 19, 2012)
The scoreline read Matthew Pavlich 8.2-50 defeated West Coast 6.12-48
A simple jumper punch gone wrong
Matthew Pavlich picking up the ball in front of an open goal and absolutely cocking everything up against Richmond in 2010
Teaming up with Essendon to produce some of the greatest displays of set shot goalkicking in modern history – Round 3, 2013
The best of them had to be Michael Hurley shanking a kick so badly it landed in the lap of Stewart Crameri and went down as a goal assist.
The other memorable part of the game was Freo blowing a 6 goal lead at half time and losing by 4 points after Chris Mayne hit the post from the goal square in the last minute.
Hayden Ballantyne getting the punch to the chin from Matthew Scarlett
Fun fact – That was a free goal in a game Fremantle won by 4 points.
That game against Adelaide where they had one goal in mind…. and promptly kicked 1 goal for the game
1.7-13 was the lowest score by any team since Richmond went goalless against St Kilda in 1961, and 12 years later, it’s still the lowest score of the 21st Century.
Every time the Dockers won a game after the siren
Hayden Ballantyne playing bare breasted against Carlton
Matt Taberner pulling a Nick Riewoldt in the goalsquare
When Nat Fyfe turned into the Elephant Man
Leading at quarter time against Geelong at Kardinia Park in 2018, only to be held goalless in the final 3 quarters as the Cats kicked 23 unanswered goals and the Dockers lost by a club record 133 points
Kicking 2.19 in a Derby in 2019, the worst display of accuracy by any team in the AFL era
That time Tony Modra booted 10 goals against Melbourne in 1999, the only time a Fremantle player has kicked 10 goals in a game
And Clive Waterhouse, because this needs Clive Waterhouse