Recap of last season
Last year's dream of a premiership died just short of the final Saturday in September, yet in 2023 do we know how good this team could be? Plenty of changes mean we could see a completely different side in 2023 and a completely different set of results.
Fremantle went on a solid late-season run winning four of their last five matches before going down to Collingwood in the second week of the finals. The issue though was consistency against the top teams. Within the last month of the regular season, they lost to both Melbourne and Sydney as well as drawing against Richmond. If they want to get better they need to win the big games.
They were sitting in the top four until Round 18 when teams started putting on the after-burners. Nat Fyfe, who has now given up the captaincy, also didn't play most of the season so it was the young players like Andy Brayshaw, Caleb Serong, Hayden Young and Heath Chapman who took the team upon their shoulders.
How can they improve
Some massive names have left the club this year, the biggest of course being David Mundy who retired after about 2.5 million games. Rory Lobb, Griffin Logue, Blake Acres, Darcy Tucker and Lloyd Meek have all also moved on to other clubs. The big fish to come in of course is Jaeger O'Meara who is now on his third AFL club,
With so many changes compared to last season, this team could either get a hell of a lot better or could get worse, who knows? For the coach, it's all about bringing the new players into a system that worked perfectly without the largely absent dual Brownlow medalist Nat Fyfe.
Nat Fyfe is largely expected to play up forward this season which is key after the Dockers failed to put big scores on the board. Rory Lobb was the top goalkicker with just 36 goals, putting him 29th in the Coleman Medal race.
IN: Josh Corbett (trade, Gold Coast), Hugh Davies (No.33 draft pick), Josh Draper (category B rookie), Tom Emmett (No.41 draft pick), Luke Jackson (trade, Melbourne), Max Knobel (No.42 draft pick), Jaeger O'Meara (trade, Hawthorn), Liam Reidy (Rookie Draft), Corey Wagner (No.57 draft pick), Conrad Williams (category B rookie)
OUT: Blake Acres (trade, Carlton), Connor Blakely (delisted), Mitch Crowden (delisted), Rory Lobb (trade, Western Bulldogs), Griffin Logue (trade, North Melbourne), Lloyd Meek (trade, Hawthorn), David Mundy (retired), Darcy Tucker (trade, North Melbourne), Joel Western (delisted)
It's hard to go past the defence and midfield of the Dockers in 2023. This was where they won most of their games last season and no doubt will again. It's hard to go past Luke Ryan, Alex Pearce and Brennan Cox while Jordan Clark will be providing plenty of run off the backline.
The midfield is incredible and is now led by Andrew Brayshaw with Nat Fyfe only popping in when required and largely playing in the forward line. Will Brodie also have a breakout season in 2023 averaging 26.8 disposals per match as well as 5.3 tackles?
As mentioned earlier it's unclear who will be the key forwards outside of Nat Fyfe in 2023. Matt Taberner will be good if fit as well as the addition of Luke Jackson, so there are options.
The problem is injuries and whether a young forward line can build up to where they can take command of games, especially in the big moments which they failed to do in 2023.
Jye Amiss looks like the next big forward for the Dockers. Since the retirement of Pavlich in 2016 the Dockers have been calling out for a big man up forward and it just hasn't come. With a pretty weak forward line, Amiss should get plenty of game time and will learn plenty playing alongside Nat Fyfe.
At only 19 years old and having played just three matches, he's certainly a young gun and a potential rising star for 2023. He had a great debut kicking two goals against the Kangaroos last season. Unfortunately, his year was cut short due to a kidney injury in 2022, let's hope this season doesn't go amiss.
The Dockers were an excellent team last season almost getting there but falling short in key moments. They are probably missing one or two really key players from their spine if they are to compete for a premiership in 2023.
Another quality tall forward and some taller defenders would be ideal. That along with Alex Pearce now as captain and plenty of new players coming in means this season could be anything for the Dockers.
This team certainly isn't too far off being a premiership contender and is no doubt the best team in WA, but for now, a premiership isn't coming.
Ladder Position: 6th
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