Player manager Colin Young is still holding out hope of sending Rory Lobb back to GWS despite tensions running hot following the ‘church-like confession’ from Fremantle’s footy boss Peter Bell.
The Fremantle Dockers finished 11th on the ladder in 2021 with ten wins and 12 losses.
Ten of their 12 losses were by 22 points or more. Though their season began with four wins from the first six games, they won only six of their next 16 matches, an unquestionably disappointing return.
It was a tough season for the Dockers, as they only had four players that featured in all 22 games, those being David Mundy, Caleb Serong, James Aish and Travis Colyer. Despite that, they showed that they have depth, as they won four out of the seven games that Nat Fyfe didn’t feature in due to injury.
To be eligible for selection it’s essential that each player selected featured in at least five games in 2021. Here are the five players and an honourable mention the Dockers can least afford to lose based on their performances this year.
Honourable mention: Andrew Brayshaw
Brayshaw averaged the most disposals of any Dockers player, with an average of 28.40 per game. He averaged exactly nine contested possessions per match, which was the fifth-highest average of any Fremantle player. He also had an average of 5.90 score involvements, the fourth-highest of any Docker.
Brayshaw worked hard defensively, with the highest average tackles of any Dockers player, at 4.65 a game. Even though he was extremely consistent, the Dockers could still win games in his absence; he had a good season statistically, but in the two games he missed the Dockers won regardless.
5. Nat Fyfe
Fyfe featured in 15 of 22 games for the Dockers this year. He was subbed in Round 2 and Round 19 due to injury. The Dockers won four out of the seven games that Fyfe didn’t feature in, but they were all against teams that finished outside the top eight. On the other hand, they lost the other three games by an average of 55.67 points.
Fyfe averaged the most score involvements of any Dockers player and the sixth most in the AFL, with an average of 7.60. The Dockers could cope without Fyfe in the team this year, but he still would’ve figured in opposition analysis when teams were due to play against them when he was fit and firing.
4. David Mundy
Mundy featured in every Dockers game this year. He led from the front and by example and was rewarded for his consistent form by being one of two players selected in the AFL All Australian squad of 40. He averaged the second-most contested possessions of any Dockers player, with an average of 11.09. He also averaged the second-most clearances of any Fremantle player, at 5.32.
Mundy had fewer than 20 disposals on only four occasions, the Dockers losing in all four of those games. There’s a strong case that he was Fremantle;s best leader in 2021, as Peter Bell, the general manager of football operations, referred to him as being like another coach.
3. Sean Darcy
Darcy’s consistency was impressive, and he featured in 21 of 22 games. He was one of two Dockers players selected in the AFL All Australian squad of 40 this year. He averaged the third-most contested possessions on average of any Dockers player, with 10.95 per game. He was a pivotal part of the Fremantle team and an important cog in their system.
2. Luke Ryan
Ryan featured in 19 of 22 games this year, the three he missed being rounds seven to nine, the side losing the lot by an average of five goals. He comfortably averaged the most metres gained of any Dockers player, with 508.79 metres per game. He averaged the second-highest disposal efficiency percentage of any Docker, at 85.50 per cent. What was most impressive about the manner he played was his endeavour to be a consistent performer.
1. Matt Taberner
Taberner featured in 16 of 22 games this year, being subbed out due to injury in rounds ten and 15. That equates to 36 goals in 14 games, which is an average of 2.57 goals per game and 15 more goals in total than any other Freo player. He was still Fremantle’s leading goal kicker even though he missed six games. Taberner failed to kick a goal in only one game, which was in Round 15 against the Magpies when he was subbed out due to a calf injury. Fremantle lost four of the six games that he was unavailable to play in due to injury by an average of 39.75 points.