While Fremantle’s poor start to the new AFL season sees them currently 15th on the ladder with two heavy defeats and a surprise win against the Bulldogs, Dockers fans will now have the chance to get an early glimpse at some exciting talent.
Having opened the campaign with embarrassing back-to-back losses to Geelong and then Port Adelaide, Fremantle head coach Ross Lyon has dropped a number of senior players, calling up a selection of rookies now set to make their AFL bows.
One of those youngsters in line to make his Dockers debut is Harley Balic. The number 38 pick in the 2015 draft endured an injury-hit 2016 campaign in the WAFL, missing a large chunk of the season with a wrist problem before returning to action at the end of the year.
Having made just one appearance before suffering his injury, Balic slotted back into the team for the WAFL finals last season, highlighting just what an exciting talent he is.
A half-forward during his early career, Balic moved back into the midfield during his time with the Sandringham Dragons.
Since then, the 187cm ball-winner has really grown into an intriguing prospect, earning All-Australian selection in 2015 after a sensational run of performances during the national under-18 championships.
Averaging 23 disposals in the TAC Cup, 22 possessions in the under-18 championships and 23 touches in his eight WAFL appearances, the youngster could be just what Fremantle need following their grim start to the season.
After missing out on the finals last year for the first time since 2011, the Dockers would have been desperate to get this season off to a promising start.
That hasn’t been the case, though, and Fremantle already find themselves at 8/1 at http://extra.bet365.com.au/NEWS/en/ to recover from their early troubles and finish in the top eight.
Having been such a consistently strong team during the regular season over the past five years, the Dockers fans are clinging on to the hope that Lyon’s team can turn things around over the next few weeks.
It hasn’t been a complete disaster of an opening couple of weeks for the Dockers. 2015 Brownlow Medalist Nat Fyfe has reaffirmed his commitment to the club he joined as a 19-year old. The midfielder was promoted to captain during the preseason, and Fyfe has endured his own troubles during the opening rounds of the year.
The 25-year old has proven just how influential he is to Fremantle over the past seven seasons, and even though he hasn’t been at his best in 2017, Fyfe has shown glimpses of what he is all about.
For a player capable of so much, the Dockers captain has a huge role this season to not only put together a run of wins, but also get the fans back on side after a very tough 12 months.
This team might have changed somewhat over the past year, but not enough that there isn’t enough quality within the roster to go on a run and squeak into that top eight.