Fremantle 2019 – Five Fearless Predictions

In his first piece for the Pinch Hitters, Eddie Langtree has the unenviable task of predicting what Fremantle will achieve in 2019.

2018 in a Nutshell

Coming off the minor premiership in 2015, the Dockers, by their own admission, underachieved in 2016 and then went on to repeat this effort in 2017 and 2018 finishing 14th in both.

2018 was a troubling year where not a lot went right. Prized recruit Harley Bennell’s wayward off season and ongoing truancy was a constant distraction as was the sexual harassment claim against coach Ross Lyon. These combined with the intermittent availability of stars Nat Fyfe and Aaron Sandilands and underperforming forwards Brandon Matera and Cam McCarthy all led to underperformance of a National Party scale.

The 133 point loss to Geelong in Round 23 and the brutal Andrew Gaff strike on Andrew Brayshaw added two emphatic full stops on a season Fremantle will wish to put behind them.


2019 Playing List

1. Hayden Ballantyne, 2. Griffin Logue, 3. Brandon Matera, 4. Sean Darcy, 5. Adam Cerra, 6. Reece Conca, 7. Nat Fyfe, 8. Andrew Brayshaw, 9. Bradley Hill, 10. Michael Walters, 11. Jesse Hogan, 12. Mitchell Crowden, 13. Harley Bennell, 14. Nathan Wilson, 15. Ethan Hughes, 16. David Mundy, 17. Hugh Dixon, 18. Darcy Tucker, 19. Connor Blakely, 20. Matt Taberner, 21. Joel Hamling, 22. Shane Kersten, 23. Cam McCarthy, 24. Tom North, 25. Alex Pearce, 26. Ed Langdon, 27. Sam Sturt, 28. Lachlan Shultz, 29. Luke Valente, 30. Lloyd Meek, 31. Aaron Sandilands, 32. Stephen Hill, 33. Travis Colyer, 34. Brett Bewley, 35. Jason Carter (Rookie), 36. Brennan Cox, 37. Rory Lobb, 38. Luke Ryan, 39. Sam Switkowski, 40. Scott Jones, 41. Bailey Banfield, 42. Stefan Giro (Rookie), 43. Ryan Nyhuis (Rookie) 44. Taylin Duman, 45. Tobe Watson (Rookie).

Best 22

B: Luke Ryan, Alex Pearce, Griffin Logue

HB: Nathan Wilson, Joel Hamling, Ed Langdon

C: Stephen Hill, Nathan Fyfe, Brad Hill

HF: David Mundy, Jesse Hogan, Michael Walters

F: Brandon Matera, Brennan Cox, Rory Lobb

FOLL: Aaron Sandilands, Adam Cerra, Connor Blakely

Int: Reece Conca, Luke Valente, Andrew Brayshaw, Harley Bennell

Emg: Cam McCarthy, Sean Darcy, Travis Colyer

Ins and Outs

Trade In

Reece Conca

Travis Colyer

Jesse Hogan

Rory Lobb

Trade out

Lachie Neale

Draft

Sam Sturt (17)

Luke Valente (32)

Lachland Schultz (57)

Brett Bewley (59)

Rookie Draft

Ethan Hughes (5) re-drafted

Tobe Watson (22) re-drafted

Ryan Nyhuis (37) re-drafted

Retired

Michael Apeness

Michael Johnson

Danyle Pearce

Lee Spurr

Delisted

Brady Grey
Ethan Hughes
Tommy Sheridan – delisted free agent
Luke Strnadica
Cam Sutcliffe


The Fixture

It’s a tough draw. They should win their first three but beyond that who knows?

If we use the Champion Data rankings for draw difficulty in 2019, Fremantle has a differential of six between their 2018 ladder position of 14 and their 2019 difficulty ranking of eight.

Only Carlton has a higher positive differential of seven. (Richmond’s differential is -12, the second lowest is Adelaide -5).


Five Fearless Predictions

Part Timers – Bennell and Lyon

Bennell is the easy one here, there will be another misdemeanour before the half way point of the year as Bennell goes AWOL while recovering from another calf. Last chance, will be shown the door.

Not so easy on the second one – if Fremantle continue with Lyon’s dour low scoring game style, and the team does not show any improvement, expect Lyon to be shown the door by Round 18. Don’t be surprised if there have already been informal discussions with Collingwood’s Justin Longmuir. Longmuir is the golden haired boy from the last Level 4 class and a former Fremantle player. Collingwood won’t be happy.

Prediction – Bennell and Lyon won’t see out the season


Cerra Picking

Cerra has signed a contract extension until 2021 but if Josh Schache and Mitch McGovern have taught us anything, it’s that contracts can be circumvented. Victorian clubs will be all over this former Eastern Ranges product. He’s a smooth mover and quality kid and will be in great demand. He will stick it out – although Fremantle’s hand will be forced and he’ll get a big wad of cash and a couple of extra years.

Prediction – Cerra will stay


Draft Bargain

Many of us called out Luke Valente’s name from about pick eight to 31 in October’s draft. When he slipped out to 32 we wondered if someone had some incriminating video from schoolies. In the absence of such footage, this is a quality kid and a leader of men. You don’t captain your state (and VC All Australian team) and not have leadership qualities which is something Fremantle isn’t really drowning in. Rated elite disposal efficiency on both feet, Fremantle need him like MAFS needs credibility.

Get him in the team, get him some experience and watch him develop into a leader and a 200 game player if they look after him.

Prediction – Valente to play 18+ games this year and the one that got away for seventeen other clubs


Moving Forward

The Fremantle forward line looks as good as any if it clicks. If Cox takes the next step, he’s got Hogan and Lobb around him now and will likely get the 3rd best back and could really be a threat. This augurs well for a guy like Cam McCarthy who has under achieved since getting to the Dockers but we all know what he is capable of. That forward line looks even better with a confident McCarthy. Add in Walters or a resting Fyfe, and Matera or Colyer

Back to Hogan – based on what we’ve seen at Melbourne, Hogan should kick 50 with his eyes shut. The delivery he will get won’t be as good as he was getting from Oliver, Jones et al at Melbourne so he really needs to stand up. I’d love to see him carry the forward line with the sort of “come with me” leadership he hasn’t shown up to now.

Prediction – Exciting forward line for the Dockers, as long as Ross doesn’t clog it up.


3, 3, 3, 3

Dockers will sit third with three from three in round three. Eagles will be grumpy after losing the Grand Final replay to Collingwood and will stop Fremantle’s run at three.

I really should put some money on this.

Prediction – see above


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