Who are the Dockers players who should play to their optimum level in 2021?
To be eligible for selection, a player must have played at least five games in season 2020, so there can be a reference point as far as those players who apply their talent the best at AFL level.
There were some tough choices that were made; leaving out the likes of Sean Darcy, Matt Taberner, Darcy Tucker and Michael Walters was difficult, but they appear to have suffered some injuries that have impacted on their preseason.
It was tough to leave Rory Lobb out, but it wasn’t possible to include him based on his form in season 2020. He played all 17 games, but didn’t finish in the top ten of the best and fairest.
Another notable player that was left out was Reece Conca, who needs to improve in season 2021.
Here are the ten players (plus an honourable mention) who will stand out from the pack in season 2021.
Nathan Wilson played 15 of 17 games in season 2020 and finished with an average of 13.67 disposals per game.
He had the third-highest disposal efficiency with 80.47 per cent.
Wilson is a player who’s capable of being an attacking defender on a halfback flank, given the Dockers regaining Joel Hamling and Alex Pearce.
10. James Aish
Aish averaged the ninth most disposals and the ninth highest disposal efficiency of any Docker in season 2020.
He played 16 of 17 games and finished tenth in the Dockers best and fairest. Expect him to get better in season 2021, as he is a player who has to improve if the Dockers are to finish in the top eight.
9. Ethan Hughes
Ethan Hughes finished seventh in the Dockers best and fairest in season 2020, featuring in all 17 games.
He always tries hard and plays to a decent level. He had the fourth-highest disposal efficiency of any Dockers player with 78.37 per cent, which is more than respectable.
Expect him to be a part of the Dockers best 22 in every game in 2021.
8. Brennan Cox
Cox may have only played 13 games in 2020, but he had the best disposal efficiency of any Dockers player with 85.85 per cent. He always displays great endeavour and expect him to be a part of the Dockers best 22 this season.
7. Adam Cerra
Cerra finished equal third in the Dockers best and fairest in season 2020. He did that despite having an average of 17.35 disposals per game, the seventh of any Dockers player.
He will be playing in the midfield in season 2021, with Fyfe spending more time up forward. Cerra has potential and will be looking to improve in season 2021.
6. Caleb Serong
Serong won the 2020 AFL rising star award, despite the fact that he only played 14 games. He finished ninth in the Dockers best and fairest.
He had an average of 16.86 disposals per game, which was a respectable average considering it was his first season at AFL level. What was most impressive was the fact that he averaged the third-highest tackles of any Docker player with an average of 4.14 tackles per game.
Expect him to have a reasonable season in season 2021. After his rising star win, there will be larger expectations on Serong.
5. David Mundy
Mundy may be coming towards the end of his career, but he should still have an impact on the Dockers finals chances in season 2021. He had the fifth-highest average of tackles on average of any Dockers player with an average of 3.75 tackles per game in 16 matches in season 2020.
He averaged the fifth most disposals with an average of 18.19 disposals per game.
Mundy deservedly finished equal third in the Dockers best and fairest. Expect him to finish in the top ten in the best and fairest in season 2021 and play his role for the team.
4. Blake Acres
Blake Acres averaged the third-highest disposals of any Dockers player in season 2020, with an average of 19.14 disposals per game in just seven games. The Dockers won two of the last four games last season – Acres played all four.
He used the ball reasonably well with 75.39 per cent disposal efficiency. It’s a big season for him in the context of his AFL career and expect him to be up for the challenge.
3. Andrew Brayshaw
Brayshaw was one of the positives for the Dockers to take out of season 2020. He finished equal third in the best and fairest.
He displayed a fantastic work rate with the second-highest average of 19.88 disposals per game. He used the ball reasonably well with the sixth-highest disposal efficiency of any Dockers player with 75.75 per cent.
Brayshaw should grow in stature in 2021 as he is willing to work hard; in season 2020 he averaged the most tackles of any Dockers player, with 4.88 tackles per game.
2. Luke Ryan
Ryan was the only Dockers player to make the All Australian team in season 2020, named in the back pocket.
He used the ball well with 84.19 per cent disposal efficiency, which was the second-highest of any Dockers player. He averaged the fourth-most disposals of any Dockers player with an average of 18.59 disposals per game.
Expect him to benefit from the inclusion of Alex Pearce and Joel Hamling in 2021, as they should be back from injuries, which kept them out of the Dockers team in 2020.
1. Nat Fyfe
Fyfe finished second in the Dockers best and fairest and was in the All Australian squad of 40, despite only featuring in 14 out of 17 games in season 2020.
He averaged the most disposals of any Dockers player in the same season, with an average of 21.36 per game. He averaged three tackles per game and 74.58 per cent disposal efficiency.
Expect him to benefit from more forward time in season 2021, which hopefully means that he plays every game and features in the All Australian team.