PERTH, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 01: Lachie Schultz and Matt Taberner of the Dockers celebrates a goal during the 2021 AFL Round 20 match between the Fremantle Dockers and the Richmond Tigers at Optus Stadium on August 1, 2021 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Carson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

The Dockers had a strong chance to claim a finals placing in 2021 before enduring four losses from their final six games of the season.

With senior coach Justin Longmuir looking to continue the Western Australia club's ascendency since taking over at the helm, a top-eight finish remains an alive outcome for Fremantle this year.

The club have registered their ambitions to claim their maiden AFL premiership by 2025 and have backed in Longmuir with a new contract this off-season.

With the horizon as bright as it has ever been at Cockburn, 2022 frames as a pivotal campaign for the Dockers on their way finally opening the doors on their trophy cabinet.

With this in mind, we take a look at how Fremantle might line up for the season ahead.

Defenders

Fitness will be key for Longmuir's rearguard this season should they shape as finals contenders, with the Dockers having struggled to field their best back-six for the past several seasons.

With Alex Pearce having a full pre-season under his belt, the Dockers will be buoyed by the key defender's ability to intercept, lockdown and direct from defence.

Jordan Clark's arrival is set to inject pace from the back, while further development of young pair Hayden Young and Griffin Logue will be critical for the club's growth.

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 27: Hayden Young of the Dockers kicks during the round 4 AFL match between the Gold Coast Suns and Fremantle Dockers at Metricon Stadium on June 27, 2020 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Versatile defender Luke Ryan will be looking to return to his All-Australia form, with stalwart Brennan Cox also holding down a key role for Longmuir

Add in the reinforcement ensemble of Nathan Wilson, Joel Hamling and Heath Chapman, and the Dockers' strong depth in defence is evident.

Midfielders

The void left by star onballer Adam Cerra is a large one, however the Dockers do have the means to quickly fill that hole and still compete for the top eight.

Plenty of focus will remain on veteran duo David Mundy and Nat Fyfe, with the latter having a heavily-interrupted past nine months following ongoing shoulder issues.

Should the two-time Brownlow return to his best, the Dockers will firm as a large threat come September, however many questions still remain for the Fremantle skipper.

Mundy had a talismanic campaign in 2021 to lead a young core group under Longmuir, with the Dockers needing more of the same from the 36-year-old.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 12: Caleb Serong, Andrew Brayshaw and Sean Darcy of the Dockers walk the pitch during the 2021 AFL Round 13 match between the Fremantle Dockers and the Gold Coast Suns at Optus Stadium on June 12, 2021 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Will Russell/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

2020 Rising Star winner Caleb Serong is set to continue on his astronomical trajectory, while gun midfielder Andrew Brayshaw is also expected to take a large step in 2022.

2021 breakout player Sean Darcy will lead the charge for the rucks once again, with Lloyd Meek also sure to have a hand throughout the course of the year.

Recruit Will Brodie will be looking to cement his place in Longmuir's midfield after joining from the Suns in hope of filling the role left by Cerra.

James Aish and Darcy Tucker are sure to add width, while draftees Neil Erasmus and Matthew Johnson add much-needed depth.

Expect the likes of Michael Walters, Sam Switkowski, Liam Henry and Blake Acres to also get midfield minutes.

Forwards

The Dockers' forward line had a miserable 2021 campaign in front of goal and will be looking to right their wrongs with finals in their frame once again.

Matt Taberner will remain as Fremantle's focal point in attack, while talls Rory Lobb, Josh Treacy and Jye Amiss will also add height in the final third.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 24: Jye Amiss and Neil Erasmus pose with Fremantle coach Justin Longmuir during the NAB AFL Draft at RAC Arena on November 24, 2021 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Will Russell/AFL Photos)

The aforementioned Walters, Erasmus Switkowski and Henry are sure to add plenty of pressure among the forward 50, with Lachie Shultz set to continue his goalkicking prowess.

Veteran Travis Colyer will be looking to add to his impressive past 12 months in purple, while youngsters Sam Sturt, Michael Frederick, Mitch Crowden and Bailey Banfield will be looking to break into the senior side.

Best 22

FB: Luke Ryan, Alex Pearce, Griffin Logue
HB: Jordan Clark, Brennan Cox, Hayden Young
C: James Aish, Caleb Serong, Neil Erasmus
HF: David Mundy, Rory Lobb, Sam Switkowski
FF: Michael Walters, Matt Taberner, Lachie Schultz
FO: Sean Darcy, Nat Fyfe, Andrew Brayshaw
I/C: Liam Henry, Will Brodie, Jye Amiss, Heath Chapman

EMERG: Nathan Wilson, Joel Hamling, Travis Colyer, Darcy Tucker

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