IT WAS the NAB AFL Women's most potent team taking on the lowest-scoring side, and in the end winless Collingwood was no match for a rampant Fremantle on Saturday.
The contest looked one-sided on paper and the Dockers, thriving under new coach Trent Cooper, put the Pies to the sword in another thrilling display of fast-paced football at Fremantle Oval.
Growing in confidence by the week, Fremantle carried on its irresistible form from victories over Melbourne and Brisbane and romped to a 7.9 (51) to 2.6 (18) victory.
Everything is rosy for the Purple Army, but Collingwood is facing serious questions after slumping to a 0-3 start for the third successive season and again showing an inability to hit the scoreboard.
From three matches, the Magpies have managed to score only 50 points and are now rooted to the bottom of Conference B with a paltry percentage of 49.5.
Meanwhile, high-flying Freo moved a win inside the top-two behind Conference A leader and premiership favourite North Melbourne.
The Roos and Dockers are the only remaining undefeated teams, and a final-round showdown at Fremantle Oval on March 16 looms as potentially decisive contest in the race for a home preliminary final.
The signs were ominous from Freo from the opening passage of play on Saturday, when Stephanie Cain burst through the centre square and delivered long into attack, where star forward Kellie Gibson collected and threaded the eye of the needle from the pocket.
Only minutes later, the Dockers again showcased their high-octane team football, with Hayley Miller turning on the afterburners from half-back to set up Ebony Antonio for their second.
While Collingwood briefly halted the onslaught, the visitors were defending deep in their half and the dam wall would eventually burst.
The Dockers added three goals into the breeze in the second term, holding the Magpies to a solitary behind and went to the rooms up by 31 points and leading inside 50s 23-6.
Collingwood finally found a morale-boosting major when Sarah D'Arcy took advantage of two 50m penalties early in the third term, and a classy left-footed snap by Jaimee Lambert to start the final term gave the Pies a lift.
However, Freo was far too strong and won three straight matches for the first time in the club's AFLW history, with skipper Kara Donnellan (18 possessions, 12 contested, six clearances) leading from the front.
Parris Laurie (16 disposals, 11 hitouts) played her best game in the ruck in an encouraging display, while star forwards Gibson and Antonio cashed in on a lopsided 42-22 inside 50 count.
Brittany Bonnici (13 disposals) never stopped trying for Collingwood, with D'Arcy (14), Stacey Livingstone (14) and gun Ash Brazill (13) also prominent but the Pies will be licking their wounds on the long flight home.
The only downside for the Dockers was a match-ending knee injury suffered by debutant Brianna Moyes in the opening term.
"She was in good spirits (after the game). She was in the centre of the huddle post-game, which was great to see," Cooper said.
"Hopefully, the news is good on Monday. I don't think you can rule that (ACL) out. She'll have scans and work things out from there."
Blink and you missed it
The writing was on the wall inside a minute for Collingwood. From the centre square, Fremantle speedster Stephanie Cain received a handball from ruck Parris Laurie, burst straight through the guts and delivered long inside 50, where star forward Kellie Gibson collected and threaded a sensational goal from the pocket. It was a scintillating start, and the Dockers were on their way.
Fremantle's brand has been overhauled by new coach Trent Cooper, but there's nothing overly tricky about it. The Dockers simply play quick and direct football to give their forwards a chance one-on-one and to use their pace. The problem for opponents is stopping it. Brisbane has been the competition's best defensive team in AFLW history but was overrun by 27 points in round two, and the Pies were powerless to short-circuit Freo's fast footy. The Dockers have been a joy to watch and are thriving on a simple game style.
It was over when…
The Dockers had Collingwood covered in every aspect on Saturday, and the disparity couldn't have been clearer just before half-time. First, the Pies gave away a completely unnecessary and undisciplined 50m penalty for holding, gifting Kiara Bowers a goal from the square instead of a near-impossible set shot from the pocket. Then from the restart Freo skipper Kara Donnellan received a free-kick for holding when Collingwood had the ball going its way. She pumped the ball back into the danger zone and Ebony Antonio thumped through Fremantle's goal from a metre out, extending the margin to an unassailable 31 points at the long break.
Work in progress
Collingwood coach Wayne Siekman will be feeling the heat after a third straight 0-3 start, and questions will begin to be asked if he can't engineer a turnaround similar to last year, when the Magpies won three games in the final month of the season. The visitors sorely missed star vice-captain Emma Grant (shoulder) on Saturday but it is their system, rather than talent, that needs to be addressed. There was a glaring inability to string together chains of possession and threaten the Dockers on their home turf.
"To make finals, 5-2 (win-loss record) might not even be enough so we have to keep ticking those boxes and winning those games. Every game is important. You can't take your foot off at any stage. We do (feel like a contender). It's hard to say, we haven't played North Melbourne, Western Bulldogs or Adelaide, who I rate really highly. We've got them to come over three of the next four games, so we're just happy playing each week and testing ourselves against the best." - Fremantle coach Trent Cooper
"Our second half against a very form team, two goals each (was positive). The last quarter I asked for a big effort to build some momentum for next week going into a conference game. I thought the ladies brought that. The intensity was there, we got our hands on the footy, got the inside 50s and put the pressure on them. It was a very good outcome in the second half against a very good team." - Collingwood coach Wayne Siekman
The Dockers head to Darwin to face conference rivals Adelaide in a huge clash at TIO Stadium next Saturday night, while the winless Pies have eight days to prepare for a showdown with fellow Conference B battler Greater Western Sydney at Morwell next Sunday.
FREMANTLE 2.1 5.3 6.8 7.9 (51)
COLLINGWOOD 0.1 0.2 1.4 2.6 (18)
Fremantle: Antonio 2, Gibson 2, Hooker, Bowers, Grieve
Collingwood: D'Arcy, Lambert
Fremantle: Donnellan, Laurie, Antonio, Gibson, Hooker, Miller
Collingwood: D'Arcy, Bonnici, Brazill, Livingstone, Lambert, Dargan
Fremantle: Moyes (knee)
Collingwood: Brazill (concussion), Bonnici (bruised ribs)
Umpires: Baigent, McPhee, Simmonds
Official crowd: 5443 at Fremantle Oval