Matt Taberner (2R) kicked four goals as Fremantle won their first AFL game at Optus Stadium.Fremantle have celebrated their first AFL game at Optus Stadium by turning the defensive pressure up a notch to beat Essendon by 16 points.
The Dockers played in front of 49,021 fans and gave them plenty to cheer about by beating the Bombers 16.10 (106) to 14.6 (90).
Fremantle were a different looking side than the one who lost the season-opener to Port Adelaide by 50 points.
Both their defensive pressure and fast ball movement were impressive while Essendon couldn’t repeat their stirring fightback from last week over Adelaide.
Matt Taberner kicked four goals in attack while Alex Pearce kept Joe Daniher goalless for the first time in 40 games.
Joel Hamling also held Cale Hooker to one goal which came 24 minutes into the last term.
Captain Nat Fyfe was near his Brownlow Medal best with 29 touches, 17 of which were contested.
Connor Blakely had 30 disposals, Lachie Neale 28, Stephen Hill 26, Michael Walters 26, Nathan Wilson 23 and Luke Ryan 22.
David Mundy, Ed Langdon and debutant Adam Cerra all kicked two goals.
Michael Hurley was superb down back for Essendon with another 25 touches and eight marks while David Zaharakis collected 24 disposals, Conor McKenna 24, Dyson Heppell 24 and Darcy Parish 22.
James Stewart, Josh Green, Josh Begley and Tom Bellchambers kicked two goals.
It took just 15 seconds for Fremantle to christen the new stadium with a goal to Taberner.
The Dockers led by two points by quarter-time and 13 with a Langdon long-range goal at the 21-minute mark of the second term. Stewart managed the last goal of the half to keep the Bombers eight points down.
Taberner booted his third during the third term to put the Dockers 25 points up and a loud ‘Freo’ chant rang out.
Essendon closed to within 13 again late in the third term but Fremantle responded with the next three goals either side of three quarter-time to lead by as much as 33 points and win by 16.
On a big night for the Dockers, coach Ross Lyon couldn’t have been prouder with the effort.
“The bigger picture is that at Optus Stadium on the first night for the club, there was 50,000 here and we averaged 34,000 at the previous stadium,” Lyon said.
“Members and fans are hard to find and when they turn up you want to show the respect by giving great effort. I thought we did that so as a club we walk away after a significant game feeling good about ourselves. We want to engage, entertain and win, and I thought we did all three.”
Essendon coach John Worsfold came away disappointed over the Bombers not clicking into high gear at any point.
“Overall I thought we didn’t use the ball very well and didn’t play very well in terms of when we won the footy making good decisions,” Worsfold said.
“We weren’t clean around the ball and drop marks we should have been creating off kept us under pressure.”