In the lead up the 2017 season, we will be assessing each club’s list and naming the best 22 for round one. Working our way up the ladder; following the analysis of Brisbane, the next cab off the rank is Fremantle.
Outs: Michael Barlow, Matt de Boer, Josh Deluca, Brady Grey, Jack Hannath, Sean Hurley, Chris Mayne, Anthony Morabito, Tendai Mzungu, Matthew Pavlich, Clancee Pearce, Alex Silvagni, Tanner Smith, Shane Yarran.
Zero Hanger 2017 ladder prediction: 11th.
The off-season saw the Dockers bolster their defensive stocks. Western Bulldogs Premiership defender Joel Hamling was brought into the club, while Michael Johnson and Alex Pearce will return to the side from long term injuries. They also recruited a host of defenders in the draft with Taylin Duman, Luke Ryan and Brennan Cox all able to play across the back line. Griffin Logue has shown great signs in the pre-season and is a big chance to debut round one.
The midfield has stars but lost a lot of its depth players in the off-season. Last season saw the emergence of Lachie Weller and Connor Blakely, if they can step their game up another level then the midfield looks a lot stronger. Fyfe, Neale, Mundy and the Hill brothers are all stars and if Harley Bennell can get his body right then the Dockers could push much higher than our prediction of 11th.
Aaron Sandilands only managed five games last season, which was a major cause of Fremantle’s downfall. He is a dominant player, but he is also 34 and injury prone. The Dockers rely so much on his service from the ruck and if he goes down, his replacements in Jon Griffin, Zac Clarke and Michael Apeness were far from convincing last season. At that age he can’t spend the entire game time in the ruck, so the Dockers will also need to play a second ruckman. I’ve gone with Apeness ahead of the others based on his ability to play forward as well.
With so many new faces in the forward line it will take time for them to gel together. Cam McCarthy looks to be a future star for the Dockers, but nobody should expect a 21-year-old who has just had a year off football to fill the boots of Matthew Pavlich just yet. Shane Kersten’s recruitment should fill a gap, and Matt Taberner will feature throughout large parts of the season. One of these two will need to step up for the Dockers this year if they are to play finals.
They also have a lot of good players who didn’t make my extended 25. Ed Langdon, Sam Collins, Nick Suban, Griffin Logue and Zac Dawson all ensure Fremantle are much better placed should injuries strike them as badly as in 2016.
Projected Fremantle 2017 best 22:
FB: Alex Pearce, Joel Hamling, Lee Spurr
HF: Harley Bennell, Shane Kersten, Lachie Weller
FOLL: Aaron Sandilands, David Mundy, Nat Fyfe