2019 in a nutshell
The Dockers have a new coach, and presumably a new gameplan. Do they have the cattle though?
Brad Hill’s departure to St.Kilda could be telling, but with Stephen Hill training well there is an option to fill that void. Blake Acres and James Aish were recruited during the trade period also, with both being solid contributors to their former clubs, so perhaps they can help bolster Fremantle’s perceived list shortcomings.
2020 Playing List
1. Jesse Hogan, 2. Griffin Logue, 3. Brandon Matera, 4. Sean Darcy, 5. Adam Cerra, 6. Reece Conca, 7. Nat Fyfe, 8. Andrew Brayshaw, 9. Blake Acres, 10. Michael Walters, 11. James Aish, 12. Mitchell Crowden, 13. Luke Ryan, 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. Caleb Strong, 23. Cam McCarthy, 24. Tom North, 25. Alex Pearce, 26. Hayden Young, 27. Sam Sturt, 28. Lachie Schultz, 29. Luke Valente, 30. Lloyd Meek, 31. Liam Henry, 32. Stephen Hill, 33. Travis Colyer, 34. Brett Bewley, 35. Jason Carter, 36. Brennan Cox, 37. Rory Lobb, 38. Isaiah Butters, 39. Sam Switkowski, 41. Bailey Banfield, 42. Stefan Giro, 43. Minairo Frederick, 44. Taylin Duman, 45. Tobe Watson, 46. Dillon O’Reilly, 47. Jarvis Pina, 48. Leno Thomas.
INS: Blake Acres (St Kilda), James Aish (Collingwood), Hayden Young (Dandenong Stingrays), Caleb Serong (Gippsland Power), Liam Henry (Claremont), Minairo Frederick (Woodville West Torrens), Jarvis Pina (Peel Thunder), Tom North (Eastern Ranges), Isaiah Butters (Claremont), Leno Thomas (Claremont).
OUTS: Hayden Ballantyne, Harley Bennell, Shane Kersten, Aaron Sandilands, Scott Jones, Ryan Nyhuis, Ed Langdon, Bradley Hill, Thomas North, Hugh Dixon.
|Rd 1||Essendon||A||MS||Sat 1.45pm|
|Rd 2||Hawthorn||H||OS||Sun 6.20pm|
|Rd 3||Melbourne||A||MCG||Sun 1.10pm|
|Rd 4||Gold Coast||H||OS||Sat 4.35pm|
|Rd 5||North Melbourne||A||BA||Sun 1.10pm|
|Rd 6||Geelong||H||OS||Sun 7.50pm|
|Rd 7||West Coast||A||OS||Sun 5.20pm|
|Rd 8||Adelaide||A||AO||Sat 1.45pm|
|Rd 9||Bulldogs||H||OS||Sun 5.20pm|
|Rd 10||St Kilda||A||MS||Sat 1.45pm|
|Rd 11||Brisbane||H||OS||Sat 8.10pm|
|Rd 12||Sydney||A||SCG||Sat 1.45pm|
|Rd 14||Carlton||H||OS||Sat 4.35pm|
|Rd 15||Port Adelaide||A||AO||Sun 4.40pm|
|Rd 16||Melbourne||H||OS||Sun 5.20pm|
|Rd 17||Bulldogs||A||MS||Sat 7.20pm|
|Rd 18||West Coast||H||OS||Sat 8.10pm|
|Rd 19||Collingwood||H||OS||Sun 5.20pm|
|Rd 20||Gold Coast||A||Metricon||Sun 4.40pm|
|Rd 21||St Kilda||H||OS||Sat 8.10pm|
|Rd 22||GWS||A||GS||Sat 4.35pm|
With West Coast the only Top Six team from 2019 they play twice, it’s not hard to imagine receiving the fixture might have prompted Justin Longmuir to complete a series of cartwheels. Although there is still a bit of work to do on the Ross Lyon rebuild, they have the perfect draw for a rise up the ladder.
Five Fearless Predictions
Blake Acres will repay the Faith
Blake Acres was a man synonymous with Hype at St.Kilda. Apparently though, the issue was that he was played out of position, with Alan Richardson playing him forward, back, RUCK! Acres is a tall outside midfielder that can shrug a tackle and seems to find time without being super-quick. I have an inkling that, given proper positioning and time in said position, Blake will begin to show the promise that Saints supporters knew he had.
Stephen Hill will remind us of his Quality
He needs to. The forgotten man, injury has cruelled his recent seasons. If Fremantle are to buck the expectation that they will perform poorly in 2020 then Hill will need to show that he still has what it takes to be a force in the middle.
Michael Walters to Dominate
Walters is a star, of that there is no doubt. He has games where he kicks a bag and has 30 touches. Consistency seems to be the issue. If Walters can provide his blistering best on a more consistent basis, the Dockers will be a lot more dangerous and will catch a few sides napping. With that consistency, one would expect him to steal a few Brownlow votes from Fyfe, which is a nice Segway…
Nat Fyfe will win the Brownlow
I was going to say he will go very close to winning, but it’s fearless predictions – not piss-weak ones. I attended Fremantle training recently and in the match sim, Fyfe was unstoppable at clearance. His athletic prowess, and his agility look to be up. He is going to be a hard man for opposition teams to curtail.
Fremantle’s youth and New coach means they’ll struggle Early
This is probably expected. A new coach and gameplan, together with a promising, youthful list including Cerra, Brayshaw, Logue, Darcy and Bewley means that Fremantle will more than likely struggle early while they adapt to the changes. That’s not to say that they will be terrible. There are still some older heads with undoubted class and quality (Fyfe, Walters), and some B and C graders capable of taking the next step (B.Cox, who was very sharp at training). The eternal issue with Fremantle’s forward setup looks set to continue with Jesse Hogan taking leave from the game to deal with isses, but Fremantle will be hoping a rejuvenated Taberner can shoulder some of that expectation.
Where will they finish
Despite some obvious midfield class, it’s hard to see Fremantle making the eight. A new coach, game plan and the loss of key personnel are all factors that point to a ‘rebuild’ type season for the Dockers. Expect them to finish in the log jam between 11 and 15.