Dockers pay tribute to Yarran with big win

A Nat Fyfe masterclass steered Fremantle to a 54-point AFL victory over the Western Bulldogs.

A Nat Fyfe masterclass steered Fremantle to a 54-point AFL victory over the Western Bulldogs.

Fremantle skipper Nat Fyfe put on a midfield masterclass as the Dockers paid tribute to Shane Yarran with a 54-point demolition of the Western Bulldogs at Optus Stadium.

Fyfe collected a career-high 43 disposals, tallied 13 clearances and booted a goal in Saturday night's 16.12 (108) to 8.6.(54) rout in front of 43,056 fans.

Goalsneak Michael Walters was dominant with five majors, while ruckman Aaron Sandilands (53 hitouts) ensured Fremantle easily won the midfield battle.

Fremantle were rocked on the eve of the match by the death of Yarran at the age of 28.

Childhood friend Walters paid tribute to Yarran by pointing to the sky and tapping his black armband after booting his first goal.

After the match, Dockers coach Ross Lyon described Yarran's death as sad and heartbreaking, saying it put everything into perspective.

Yarran played six games for the Dockers in 2016 before off-field problems ended his AFL career.

"It's been a difficult 24 hours for our football club and WA football," Lyon said.

"It was a difficult night, particularly for our Noongar and Aboriginal players.

"It's been quite sobering to come here today. It highlights just how fragile things can be. We're not machines, and there was some people feeling it tonight.

"It was important tonight that we played well."

The win came at a cost to the Dockers, who lost key forward Matt Taberner to a broken metatarsal in his left foot in the opening term.

Taberner had taken five marks and booted one goal up until that point, but he could be sidelined for months.

Bulldogs veteran Tory Dickson is also facing a stint on the sidelines after tearing his left hamstring.

Defender Aaron Naughton bravely returned to the field in the last quarter after copping a knee to the face from a teammate.

The Bulldogs had shown good fight over the past fortnight against Essendon and Sydney but fell in a heap against the Dockers, who were fielding five first-year players.

Ugly errors and bad decision-making haunted the Bulldogs, who slumped to 1-4 and face a second straight season without finals action after their 2016 premiership triumph.

"It's just a deflating experience tonight," Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge said.

"We had a couple of reasonable weeks where we played some good footy and unfortunately the key ingredients to those performances - pretty much the fundamentals of our game - went missing."

Bulldogs forward Tom Boyd finished with two goals from seven disposals in his first match of the year.

Fyfe was a star - both in the dry and the wet.

When rain tumbled during the second quarter, Fyfe tallied 12 disposals and four clearances as he chases a second Brownlow Medal.

Fremantle booted six goals to one in the third term to open up a 50-point lead, with the Dogs showing little fight for most of the match.

Australian Associated Press