- from afl.com.au
FREMANTLE came away from a 31-point loss to Greater Western Sydney disappointed, but bullish that its young players will learn plenty from the clash with one of the competition's premiership fancies.
The Dockers handled the windy conditions well initially at UNSW Canberra Oval and despite letting the home side outscore them 6.5 to 2.7 in the second half, the Giants' advantage was just 13 points early in the last term.
Nick Haynes starred for GWS as their loose man in defence, where he gathered 29 possessions and took 15 marks for the afternoon and read the play to perfection.
Fremantle coach Ross Lyon conceded that his young forwards struggled to handle Haynes and fellow defender Heath Shaw, but they said they would benefit enormously from the experience of playing on the pair of Giants.
"Haynes and Shaw were really good on our young forwards, who just got lost a little bit, and that allowed them to shift the ball out quite well," he said post-match.
"But I thought we fought on, so there's some really good learnings from that.
"We don't like to lose, we like to win, but in the context of what we've been doing with our youth, there was still some good signs for us.
"We continue on and if we learn how to handle backs like that, there's some light at the end of the tunnel for us."
For the second week in a row young draftee Bailey Banfield was given the task of shutting down an opposition star, and he performed his role brilliantly on GWS defender Lachie Whitfield.
Whitfield managed just six possessions – which included one kick – up until half-time, before Banfield was moved into the midfield to try to quell the influence of Dylan Shiel.
Lyon said he was thrilled with the 20-year-old rookie's efforts.
"We want to let him play in his own right because he's a really good competitor, he finds the ball and he's a good decision-maker," he said.
"His execution could improve, but we're thrilled (with him).
"I think we had four first-year players (in the team) so it's enjoyable, but there's going to be some frustrations.
"There's a few more to come through, so it's exciting for the club, and I think if you watched us you'd see we never gave up, so that’s what we're chasing."