The Fremantle were one of the surprise packets in 2022. Many expected to see the Dockers feature in the finals action, but few predicted the side would get off to the blustering start they did, finding themselves facing off for a spot in the grand final at season's end.

Season finish: 5th
Record: 7-3

2022 season snapshot

Fremantle surpassed many expectations in 2022, capitalising on their fifth-place finish to reach a preliminary final, a 14-point loss to eventual premiers Adelaide.

The Dockers started their season well, winning their first three games by a margin of 90 points, despite spending much of their time on the road due to border closures, but were let down by their lagging end to the home and away season causing them to slide down the ladder.

An 88-point Round 9 loss to Melbourne wasn't the ideal way to start their finals campaign, but Fremantle managed to recover, winning their qualifying final against North Melbourne by 38 points in comprehensive fashion.

A heartbreaking preliminary final loss would have been a tough blow, but Fremantle can at least rest easy knowing that their season was more than impressive.

FREMANTLE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 31: Kiara Bowers of the Dockers looks to pass the ball under pressure from Alicia Eva of the Giants during the 2021 AFLW Round 01 match between the Fremantle Dockers and the GWS Giants at Fremantle Community Bank Oval on January 31, 2021 in Fremantle, Australia. (Photo by Will Russell/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Star player: Hayler Miller

The Fremantle captain was nearly unstoppable in 2022 in what was surely a career-best season.

The tough midfielder led from the front, often in the absence of reigning club best and fairest Kiara Bowers, averaging 8.7 disposals, 6.1 tackles, 3.6 clearances and 3.8 score involvements per game, along with kicking ten goals.

Finishing in fifth place in Fremantle's best and fairest count in 2021, Miller is every chance to take the honours this season, along with a maiden All Australian selection.

Supported by Bowers, who had a stellar season too, though missed several games, Miller and co turned Fremantle's midfield into a dominant force of high-pressure footy.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 16: Hayley Miller of the Dockers celebrates a goal during the 2022 AFLW Round 02 match between the Fremantle Dockers and the GWS Giants at VU Whitten Oval on January 16, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Breakout player: Gabby O'Sullivan

A move to the midfield looked like a stroke of genius by the halfway mark of the season, with O'Sullivan seamlessly embracing her role outside of the forward line.

One of the most experienced on Fremantle's list, the 28-year-old complimented the Fremantle midfield nicely, averaging 15.6 disposals, 3.3 clearances, 6.8 tackles, 2.7 score involvements per game for the season. Across her 11 games, the former basketballer also managed two goals, including one in the qualifying final against North Melbourne.



Fremantle hardly put a foot wrong in the early moments of the season, dominating their opponents in their opening three matches, and it had a lot to do with the pressure they were applying, particularly in the forward line, leading to some high scoring footy and blowout margins.

The Dockers ranked first in the competition for total tackles laid in 2022 (854) well clear of the second-placed Lions, and seemed to revel in applying forward half pressure.

Fremantle's brand of contested footy mixed with the speed of their elite midfield group made for impressive footy and will probably be something fans should become accustomed to seeing next season.


Late season form

While Fremantle's brand of footy rocketed them up the ladder at the season's start, their high-pressure style seemed to falter as time wore on, leading to some quite inconsistent late-season form.

That Round 9 loss to Melbourne looms as the biggest anomaly for Fremantle, who more often than not were handing out drubbings, not receiving them.

Overall, it's hard to find many major faults with a team that played as well as Fremantle did for most of the season, with some lapses in consistency and minor depth issues being the most of their worries outside of the looming expansion threat, next season should be a good one.

Season grade: A-

Fremantle had an impressive season. Key players stood up when they were needed, debutants played their role excellently and their stars continued to shine. Internally, the club would surely be disappointed they couldn't make it one win further to the grand final, but their effort to make it to the prelim shouldn't be overlooked.