Currently 10 clear points clear on top of the ladder, it’s clear that Fremantle have been the most consistent team in the league this season.
While there have been a number of impressive performances from the club’s younger players, most notably Brownlow contender Nat Fyfe, it has been the Dockers’ experienced spine that has been the difference between Fremantle and the rest of the AFL.
The Hawks might be gaining some momentum at just the right time of the season, currently at 6/5 with bet365 to win the Grand Final, but if the Dockers can keep their experienced players fully fit then they stand a great chance of upsetting the odds.
Luke McPharlin: At 33, there is little doubt we are seeing the twilight of McPharlin’s career, but the veteran has been an important part of Fremantle’s team this season. Despite coming close to hanging up the boots at the end of last season, the versatile defender has only missed two games this season and there is a chance Docker fans could see McPharlin again next year.
Matthew Pavlich: Another 33-year old, Pavlich has made it clear he knows he is coming to the end of his career. While his goal returns have dropped to below two per game for the first time since he played some matches in the midfield four years ago, the forward has helped the Dockers in a lot of other areas. Fremantle coach Ross Lyon still clearly values Pavlich highly, and the veteran has been ever-present this season despite his diminishing stats.
Aaron Sandilands: Still one of the best ruckmen in the league, Sandilands looks to be some way away from calling time on what has been an illustrious career. Following an injury-hit three years in which he made just 37 appearances, the 32-year old has missed just one game over the past two seasons, playing a huge role in Fremantle’s success this year.
Paul Duffield: He might not be as crucial to the Dockers’ back six as he once was, but there are some Fremantle fans who feel Duffield still has a role to play at the club. With his contract expiring at the end of the season, it remains to be seen whether the flanker will still be around next year.
David Mundy: One of the best midfielders in the league, the Dockers re-signed Mundy to a long-term deal that will keep him at the club for the rest of career. A main stay in this Dockers’ team over the past two seasons, the 30-year old is in his prime and playing an instrumental role in Fremantle’s remarkable campaign this year.
Michael Johnson: Having missed nine games this season with injury, Johnson is returning to full fitness at just the right time for the Dockers. On the back of an impressive first half of the year, the 30-year old was handed a new deal that will see him stay at Fremantle until the end of 2017. If he can get back to the level he was at in 2013 when he earned All Australian status, then the Dockers’ defence will once again be very tough to beat.