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2022 AFL Team Previews: Fremantle Dockers

March 1st 2022, 12:05pm, By: Jack Tobin

2022 Fremantle Dockers Team Preview

2021 was a missed opportunity for Fremantle, finishing one game outside of the top eight. After a strong trade period and draft haul, the Dockers are primed to play finals for the first time since 2015. Can the Dockers live up to the hype and see September action in 2022?

Jack Tobin will be previewing EVERY team in the lead up to the 2022 season, while PuntingInDanger and his crew will be back this year to give their betting tips on every game. Be sure to head to the AFL Tips page for regular updates! 

Fremantle Dockers Season Preview

Squad

In: Jordan Clark (Geelong), Will Brodie (Gold Coast), Jye Amiss (Pick 8), Neil Erasmus (Pick 10), Matthew Johnson (Pick 21), Eric Benning (Pick 54)

Out: Adam Cerra (Carlton)

The Dockers were stung with Adam Cerra’s departure after spending four years developing the young star. However the Dockers recovered swiftly picking up tall midfielders Neil Erasmus and Matthew Johnson to add to their already exciting young midfield. They secured the best key forward in the draft in Jye Amiss, while also securing former first round picks in Jordan Clark and Will Brodie.

Fremantle’s 2021 campaign was hindered by their inability to convert, kicking more points than goals in 15 of their 22 games. The Dockers also lost two games where they had more scoring shots than their opponents, if they won both of those games as they should have done - they would’ve played finals. The Dockers were the least accurate team in front of goal in the AFL last season, if they can correct their woes in front of goal they’ll see massive improvements upon their 2021 season.

The Dockers young midfield took some big strides last season. Andy Brayshaw (28) and Caleb Serong (23) averaged career high disposals tallies, and Sean Darcy catapulted himself into one of the premier ruckman in the comp. Darcy averaged 28 hitouts, 16 disposals, 5 clearances and 3 inside 50’s per game in 2021, and will only continue to get better in 2022. The development of the younger midfielders means skipper Nat Fyfe can spend more time forward, giving the Dockers more avenues to goal.

One of the biggest questions that has surrounded Fremantle over the past few seasons has been how are they going to kick winning scores. Matthew Taberner had an outstanding 2021 kicking 37 goals from 16 games, however the Dockers next highest goal kicker was Lachie Schultz with 22. Fremantles two focal points up forward, Taberner and Rory Lobb only managed to play 16 and 13 games respectively - if they can’t stay on the park, then the Dockers are going to struggle to make the eight.

Fremantle have spent a couple of seasons on the cusp of the eight, now comes the challenge of getting over the hump. Justin Longmuir has had two seasons at the helm and has drastically improved Fremantle's ball movement. With more continuity under Longmuir’s game plan, the Dockers should see plenty of internal improvement.  

Breakout Player: Hayden Young 

After being taken with the seventh pick in the 2019 draft, Hayden Young’s first two seasons in the AFL have been hampered by injury. After a strong preseason where he’s been one of the standouts in match simulation, Hayden Young is primed to take his game to the next level. In the final four games of 2021 Young averaged 18 disposals per game, giving him a platform to springboard into this season. Young began to take kick ins towards the end of the season and given his lethal left foot, he should get more opportunities to kickstart the Dockers out of defence. Expect a big season from Hayden Young.

What Do The Dockers Need To Do In 2022?

Given how close they were to playing finals last season, anything short of a finals appearance in 2022 would be a disappointment for Fremantle. But given how young the Dockers are, the evolution of their front half game is the biggest thing they need to sort out in 2022. For years the Dockers have struggled to create goal scoring opportunities, however in 2021 they created plenty - they just couldn’t finish them. Fremantle finished 15th for scoring in 2021, 15th in 2020, 16th in 2019, 16th in 2018, 17th in 2017, 16th in 2016. They simply have to be better inside forward 50 if they want to break into the top eight this season.

VERDICT

fremantle dockers preview

Just like in 2021 the Dockers will be right amongst the finals race, however given they haven’t really addressed their front half issues, it’s hard to see them breaking their finals drought. With Richmond, St Kilda and Carlton all pushing to climb into the eight after disappointing 2021 campaigns, the Dockers face tough competition to make the jump in season 2022. There’s a lot to like about what Fremantle are doing, but they just don’t have enough attacking firepower to feature in September.

 

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