Fremantle AFL preview 2013

Andrew Slevison Roar Rookie

By Andrew Slevison, Andrew Slevison is a Roar Rookie

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    Can the Dockers finally step out of the shadows and become a genuine Premiership threat?

    Freo will be looking to go at least one better than last season’s semi-final loss to Adelaide.

    A gritty victory over 2011 premiers Geelong in the first week of the finals suggests that the Dockers are becoming more accustomed to life at the pointy end of the ladder and 2013 should be a season filled with plenty of hope for the purple faithful.

    Ross Lyon has a list with a number of players in between the vital ‘80-140 game bracket’ which is all so important for winning premierships.

    Although I don’t see them saluting this year, they will be around the mark.

    I’m not sure if a top-four finish is in order but if all of Fremantle’s key players including Aaron Sandilands, Nat Fyfe and Michael Barlow can remain fit, then anything is possible.

    Skipper Matthew Pavlich may spend more time closer to goals after his bag of 69 last year and expect Chris Mayne to have more of an impact both in the forward line and midfield.

    Stephen Hill oozes class and will only continue to get better while youngsters Hayden Crozier, Lachie Neale, Josh Simpson and Jayden Pitt all have the ability to become regular senior contributors.

    The midfield, which has again lost Anthony Morabito to a knee injury, led by Barlow and David Mundy with the assistance of Clancee Pearce, Tendai Mzungu, Matt De Boer, Garrick Ibbotson, Hill and last year’s Best and Fairest Ryan Crowley is in a very strong position.

    Down back, Luke McPharlin is the leader of a defensive group which includes the ever-improving Zac Dawson, the dash of Paul Duffield, the agility of Michael Johnson and the courage of Nick Suban, provided he can cement a spot in Lyon’s best 22.

    Freo doubters will be everywhere, as is the norm, but this year they can shrug off some critics and again feature heavily in September with the view to bigger and better things in the next couple of years.

    Predicted finish: sixth

    Key players

    Matthew Pavlich – A quality player who can do anything. Proven match-winner who should spend more time deep in the forward line this year.

    Aaron Sandilands – Monster ruckman capable of dominating games. Can Freo overcome his pre-season injury?

    Nat Fyfe – An extremely talented midfielder who will be the feature of the Dockers engine room for a very long time.

    Break-out potential

    Michael Walters – Finally showed his class with a fine second half of last season which yielded 22 goals from 10 games. So much potential which could be completely revealed in 2013.

    Hayden Crozier – Promising midfielder/half-forward. Glandular fever knocked him around last year but could bob up with some big games in 2013.

    Lachie Neale – 11 games last year was a nice return for Neale who is expected to become a more consistent contributor this season.

    Promising youngsters

    Josh Simpson – Stephen Hill-type who takes players on and possesses clever ball use. One of the top players in the draft. One to watch.

    Tom Sheridan – Pick 16 in 2011. Running half-back who is progressing nicely and will benefit from more senior football.

    Jayden Pitt – Has failed to deliver after being Freo’s top pick in the 2010 draft but has sized up over pre-season and really needs to step up in 2013.

    Key inclusions

    Danyle Pearce – Comes over from Port Adelaide. Will find plenty of the ball by running the lines at the spacious Patersons Stadium.

    Notable departures

    Greg Broughton – Gold Coast Suns.

    Antoni Grover – retired.

    Worth a punt

    Nat Fyfe to win Brownlow Medal into Freo to make top eight.

    AFL enthusiast. Richmond supporter. Annual September holiday-maker.

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    The Crowd Says (10)

    • Roar Guru

      March 5th 2013 @ 7:56am
      TomC said | March 5th 2013 @ 7:56am | ! Report

      I’ve said this on other threads in the past, but I think Fremantle are a bit overrated going into 2013. And I think Andrew falls into the same trap everyone else falls into, which is giving too much significance to their win over Geelong.

      The Dockers have a lot of good players, but only a handful of very good players, and I think that cluster of teams around the bottom of the eight and outside is where they belong.

      Looking forward to seeing a lot more of Walters in 2013.

    • March 5th 2013 @ 9:25am
      Judy said | March 5th 2013 @ 9:25am | ! Report

      Doesn’t every team have a handful of very good players and a team of good players ? Barlow ballad fyfe Mundy Pav Crowley McPharlin
      Sin Son ect not a bad start I feel on right track

    • March 5th 2013 @ 10:12am
      Andrew Slevison said | March 5th 2013 @ 10:12am | ! Report

      TomC, I just feel that Freo won’t be going backwards in 2013 and with finals experience in recent years, they could very well step up further.

      For me, the fact they have a solid group of guys who have plenty of experience (80-140 games) is a good sign. Clearly just my opinion so open to criticism.

      Thanks for the feedback!

    • March 5th 2013 @ 10:17am
      Judy said | March 5th 2013 @ 10:17am | ! Report

      Andrew at last a positive comment I’d like to think we are on the right track what is everyone’s thoughts on how we recruited ? Have we bungled not getting a forward ? Can Hannath play forward ?who will step up into McPhees position ? #gofreo

      • March 5th 2013 @ 12:56pm
        bryan said | March 5th 2013 @ 12:56pm | ! Report

        Exactly!

        Adam McPhee is a much-underrated player,who,except when he was injured,was in there, game after game,making
        a significant contribution——-& he kicked a few goals,too!
        You need a player of similar grit & determination to fill his shoes.

    • March 5th 2013 @ 10:34am
      Brendan said | March 5th 2013 @ 10:34am | ! Report

      Fremantle were about six goals up on Geelong in the elimination final last year at quarter time and finished up winning by 15 points and had one more scoring shot than the Cats.They were clearly the better side but got off to a flyer and IMO needed to defeat Adelaide the next week to confirm this form as genuine .From memory they started well against the Crows but were beaten.The Dockers need to find consistetncy both during a game and week to week before i think you can talk of them as a flag chance.Undoubtedly Pavlich is a superstar and is probably underrated as he doesn’t play on the eastern seaboard but he and Sandilands need to fire on a regular basis for them to go deep into the finals.

    • March 5th 2013 @ 11:56am
      rokn said | March 5th 2013 @ 11:56am | ! Report

      Hey Judy, they might be hanging out for a buddy!!

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