Ladder Position: 11th
Expectation has the capacity to break those who aren’t up to the challenge in the first place. The Fremantle Football Club has since its inception has had to deal with not only its neighbour’s well-documented success, but also living in near obscurity to those in the Eastern States. Nearly no expectation for success had been placed upon the Dockers, except from their own faithful who no longer wanted their beloved institution to make up the numbers. This was, until the turn of the 2010/11preseason. As it was beginning and for the first time in the clubs history, that football journalists were having more than a passing glance. They were expertly peeling back the layers to suggest that greatness could finally come the way of the Purple Haze. Then, the horrors began.Within one pre-season; the promising Anthony Morabito was done for the year, a whole rank of up and comers had injury interrupted pre-seasons (Joel Houghton, Matt De Boer and Clayton Hinckley) and well documented regulars had their years already threatened going into Round 1 (Garrick Ibbotson, Rodger Hayden & Byron Schammer). However, Fremantle kept on and after 5 rounds of the regular season, they sat 3rd on the ladder and looked to have plugged the holes that needed filling with aplomb.Then it went pear-shaped. Fremantle fans had a multitude of excuses for being furiously disillusioned at the hands of strange results which included losses to Richmond (48 points), Melbourne (89 points) and North Melbourne (98 points); which saw the club end its season with 7 straight losses and winning only 4 from their last 13 games.
So 2012? They’ve replaced their coach, lost one-time Rising Star Rhys Palmer; and acquired depth from playing rookies and kids from among all the carnage of last year’s injury woes. From all pre-season reports, Fremantle’s season hangs upon the heath of its squad. Pre-season training saw less reliance on skills work, and more fitness and gym training put into a squad which was put through a hell-bound 2011 campaign.
Nathan Fyfe: Offensively creative and borderline elite. If the forward line is to function and trouble greater sides; he must not only create scoring opportunities for the KPP’s, but become dangerous around goal himself.
Aaron Sandilands: The Empire will strike back this year. Is too talented and mobile for be held down for a second year in a row. If Sandi re-captures form from seasons gone by, the Dockers chances of playing finals triple.
Matthew Pavlich: Arguably the club’s greatest player. Zac Clarke, Kepler Bradley and Jonathan Griffin’s inclusions in the best 22 sees him best fit to roam the wings and continue to be the dangerous weapon he’s been for so long.
Alex Silvangi: Key position defender that allows Luke McPharlin to be freed up to play a ‘Luke Hodge’ role in defence. Second season only saw 9 games due to injury, ready to explode.
Zac Clarke: If Sandilands fails to re-capture the title of ‘League’s Best Ruckman’, Clarke needs to stand up. Has become fitter in the pre-season and in his 4th year at the club, should be able to read the game better.
Greg Broughton: Small defender/midfielder needs to have a big year. Rewards will be reaped he can stay in form alongside Fyfe, Barlow and Mundy in the midfield.
8 of Fremantle’s last 9 games are against sides that didn’t play finals in 2011. Learn to win in Melbourne, September awaits for these young Dockers and expectations for beyond will rise.
4th – 8th