AFL 1 year ago

Are Fremantle closer to a rebuild than a flag?

  • Are Fremantle closer to a rebuild than a flag?

    MANDURAH, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 19: Ross Lyon, coach of the Fremantle Dockers addresses the team at quarter time during the 2016 NAB Challenge match between the Fremantle Dockers and the Richmond Tigers at Rushton Park, Mandurah on February 19, 2016. (Photo by Daniel Carson/AFL Media/Getty Images)

We're two weeks into the season and the heat is already on a number of clubs, but no more than the Fremantle Dockers.

A month before the beginning of the season, the Fremantle Dockers locked away coach Ross Lyon for a further five years, tying him to the club until the end of the 2020 season. 

Fremantle's first game of the season was against the Western Bulldogs in which many tipped to be the game of the round and one that not many tipsters could separate. That match turned out to be a big win to the Bulldogs, demoralising the Dockers to the tune of 65 points.

Rusty, okay we can let that slide, but at home against the Gold Coast Suns, you'd expect the Dockers to get the job done and done well, but instead the Dockers leaked the most points at Domain Stadium since 2011. 

The loss of defender Luke McPharlin cannot be underestimated and with Ross Lyon's inability to blood youth in his time at the Dockers is now starting to bite them on the backside. 

You look across Fremantle's list and where is the depth? There's a lot of good young talented kids, but are they ready to come into the senior side and have an impact? Fremantle have recently relied on chasing opposition's best players in a bid to sure up their list, rather than develop their own list.

Since 2012, when Ross Lyon made the switch from St Kilda to the Dockers, the most capped player for the Dockers in that time is Matthew Taberner, with just 29 games, while eight have been drafted and delisted, nine have played less than ten games (not including the most recent batch of draftees).

2012:

17. Josh Simpson - Delisted
36. Tanner Smith - 2 games
39. Max Duffy - Delisted

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PSD:

8. Jack Hannath - 18 games
14. Jesse Crichton - Delisted

Rookie:

11. Matt Taberner - 29 games
25. Alex Howson - Delisted
46. Craig Moller - Delisted

2013:

17. Michael Apeness - 2 games
37. Alex Pearce - 14 games
58. Brady Grey - 1 game

Rookie:

16. Michael Wood - Delisted
32. Tom Vandeleur - Delisted
47. Jacob Ballard - Delisted

2014:

13. Lachie Weller - 5 games
34. Connor Blakely - 1 game
54. Ed Langdon - 3 games
68. Josh Deluca - 0 games

Rookie: 

13. Ethan Hughes - 1 games
48. Sean Hurley - 0 games

Looking at Fremantle's list, four of their best 22, Matthew Pavlich, Aaron Sandilands, David Mundy and Michael Johnson are all in top age bracket of the club, as well as crucial top 22 players Zac Dawson who is also approaching the wrong side of 30. 

The Dockers have some good young players that still have 6-7-8 years ahead of them in Nathan Fyfe, Lachie Neale, Harley Bennell, Michael Walters and Stephen Hill who are all under the age of 26. But the fact remains, there's no depth in the key position area and you only have to look as far as Carlton to see that doesn't work.

Many sides are starting to pass the Dockers and something needs to change pretty quickly for make sure the Dockers don't lose their grip on a potential premiership flag in the coming years.

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