Fremantles midfielder Lachie Neale believes the Dockers have improved this season, but need to get some more consistency into their game in 2019.
The second year into the club’s rebuild saw them claim eight wins in 2018, the same as last year, but improve slightly on their percentage of 76.2%.
Freo saw eight players make their debuts this season as they continue to look to their next generation to push for finals contention in the coming years.
The Dockers’ new home of Optus Stadium saw them win over Essendon, Port Adelaide and Adelaide, but it was their away form which became a concern.
Finishing with one win and eight losses on the road in 2018, Fremantle saw their average losing margin sit at 62 points when not in Perth.
Lachie Neale has agreed with his captain Nat Fyfe when it comes to Freo still finding their playing style but thinks they’ve improved on last season.
“We’ve got one in mind, but it’s been inconsistent,” Neale told the club’s website.
“Our best football, which we’ve shown in small patches, can really compete with some really good sides.
“We just want to be able to deliver that consistently and be a really hard team to play against with a bit of an attacking flair and hopefully we can consistently do that next year.
“Even on the weekend there were patches through the game against Collingwood where our ball movement and the things we’ve been talking about trying to improve on really came to life.
“Our list is younger than it was last year, we’ve brought in some excellent talent through the draft and also a couple of guys from other clubs who have come in and really delivered.”
Neale, who was one of Fremantle’s best players week in and week out, will be vying for the Doig Medal alongside David Mundy as they regularly performed within an inexperienced line-up.
Averaging 30.3 disposals a game, Neale only dipped below 20 touches once this season, and led the Dockers in clearances despite an interrupted pre-season thanks to injuries.
Neale’s stellar season has been rewarded with a selection in the Virgin’s All Australian 40-man squad, but concedes he is doubtful of making the final 22 for the first time.
“It’s a pretty good list of players and there’s some guys in there that have had excellent years – especially in midfield – so it will be a tough 22 to crack,” Neale said.
“I had a little bit of a limited preparation last off-season, I didn’t do much work before I got back to the club due to some injuries and what not, so off the back of that I’m pretty happy with my performance.
“But as always there’s things I’ve got to improve and work on.
“My body is feeling really good so I’ll be able to attack this off-season really well and really hard.”
Neale has also asked the young players at the club to be ready for a challenging but rewarding pre-season, also stating his housemate Andy Brayshaw is buzzing to be there for day one after recovering from a broken jaw.
“I’ve spoken to Andy on a weekly basis since he’s been back in Melbourne and he’s going really well,” he said.
“He’s looking forward to getting stuck into pre-season, he’s a bit like me – he loves his footy.
“He’s been itching to get out there and help out the boys, but his spirits are good and he’ll be ready to go day one.”