After incremental improvements in the first two seasons under Coach Justin Longmuir, Fremantle made the quantum leap in 2022 by playing finals football for the first time since 2015. And they disappoint.
In a season filled with successes, the Dockers made tremendous strides finishing with 15 wins, six losses, and a draw. More than the actual win-loss record, the continual growth of its upcoming young players and middle to lower-tier players made the difference in becoming one of the more formidable sides to play against.
With an array of confidence under the belt, Fremantle made important moves during last season's trade period despite losing Rory Lobb (Western Bulldogs), Blake Acres (Carlton), Griffin Logue and Darcy Tucker (North Melbourne).
Bringing home Jaeger O'Meara and Luke Jackson is going to shore up its midfield and ruck stocks respectively, whilst Josh Corbett has potential for more opportunities, having fallen out of favour at the Gold Coast Suns.
As the side's first match of the home and away Season is only days against St Kilda at Marvel Stadium, these are the five burning questions hovering over the Dockers.
2. What will the additions of Jaeger O'Meara and Luke Jackson bring?
After the retirement of club legend David Mundy, Fremantle needed to fill a vacant spot left by one of its all-time greats. The answer: Jaeger O'Meara.
Already possessing one of the league's upcoming young midfield groups, O'Meara adds plenty of experience, having played 143 games. The former Sun and Hawk will slot into the role that Mundy did so effortlessly over his 376 games.
O'Meara is an excellent contested ball winner, solid clearance player, exceptional tackler, and most of all damaging by foot when given time and space.
O'Meara looked right at home during the club's final pre-season hitout against Port Adelaide, finishing with 22 disposals and a goal. Despite an innocuous ankle injury recently, he is in top shape to make an immediate impact back in his home state.
Speaking to the media in the aftermath of his trade last October, O'Meara said the chance to contend for a premiership was a deciding factor.
“I had a fair bit of due diligence and thinking. It's not often you have 48 hours to decide what your future holds for the next four years. There were a couple of restless nights, but I'm rapt to end up at Fremantle. Hopefully, we're playing finals footy next year again and having a crack at a premiership," he said.
The other big fish Fremantle are excited about is Luke Jackson.
The 2021 premiership player will help alleviate the pressure off Sean Darcy to form one of the best young ruck tandems in the league.
Jackson's forward craft has gotten better during his three seasons, kicking 16 goals in Melbourne's drought-breaking premiership year. What we will bring is the ability to ruck and rove considering his incredible aerial ability, providing centre clearances, plus being another additional midfielder.
This allows Darcy to spend time resting up forward, while Jackson gives him a chop out in the ruck. If Fremantle can get a 20-goal season from the former number-three pick, then it's a major win.