Despite a few bright spots, Freo ended up scraping together 6 wins for the year.
Considering that they were without Matthew Pavlich and Aaron Sandilands for part of the year, it wasn’t too surprising. Adding to the huge amount turn-over in their list and the number of youngsters played, the 6-16 really looks about right.
Highlights of the year include seeing Stephen Hill light up Subiaco with some great individual plays, Finding Greg Broughton as a great mature-aged pick up, the unearthing of Chris Tarrant as a gun backman and the two Derby victories against West Coast.
With the move of Tarrant into the backline and the emergence of Broughton and Duffield as consistent performers and the addition of an injury-free Roger Hayden, the backline doesn’t look too bad.
There is talk of Luke McPharlin moving to the backline to help Tarrant with the tall’s which is a good sign given how poorly he played last year up forward.
The two most important players in this group are Tarrant and Hayden, and if they stay injury-free, the backline will end up being Fremantle’s clear strength.
On paper, Freo’s first-string midfield isn’t too bad, with plenty of potential. After that though, it gets a bit light on.
The recent additions in the draft of Palmer, Hill and now Morabito will certainly help this area in the future, but at this stage of their careers, they can only do so much.
Those players along with Crowley, Haselby, Schammer, McPhee and the other good young kids like De Boer, Ibbotson and Pearce running through there will need to carry the load throughout the year.
After losing Matthew Pavlich to the midfield in 2009, all signs are pointing to the captain returning to his best and most valuable spot.
His return to the forwardline will at the very least give Fremantle an elite forward target to aim for.
Energetic forward pocket Hayden Ballantyne will hope to build on his promising first year and continue to harass defenders whilst providing a heap of excitement.
Chris Mayne showed some really good signs and would really help Freo if he builds on it and finds some consistency.
Ryan Murphy really needs to lift his game after two lean years. A lift from him would be massive, but expectations are low which is an indication on how far he has fallen from his promising 2006 form.
Lucky Freo with their gun ruckman. With Aaron Sandilands, they have a ruckman who will always give their midfielders first choice with the ball whilst also getting a fair bit of the ball around the ground. Quite simply, he’s a gun and Freo will rarely ever lose a ruck contest when he is playing.
Zac Clarke looked like a prospect last year, but until he puts on some weight that’s all he’ll ever be.
I’m probably one of the rare few that don’t always pour scorn over the Dockers for some reason. It could be my consistently low expectations I have of them.
Really; it’s more due to their comprehensive re-build that they are going through with Mark Harvey, that has seen them turn-over way more than any other team over the past few years.
It’s pretty much due to that reason as to why my expectations will be quite low once again for Fremantle this year.
One thing that I’ve overlooked in this preview is the home-game factor. Lucky for Freo, this will help with a few victories and good performances, unfortunately with that, I can’t see much luck coming away from home at all.
The best Freo can really hope for this year, is more experience into their young bunch, which is of good quality and the continuing rebuilding process which gives the fans more hope over for the next few years.
Expect Finish: 16th-14th
FB: Roger Hayden, Chris Tarrant, Nick Suban
HB: Paul Duffield, Luke McPharlin, Greg Broughton
C: Stephen Hill, Rhys Palmer, Byron Schammer
HF: Adam McPhee, Matthew Pavlich, Des Headland
FF: Hayden Ballantyne, Michael Johnson, Chris Mayne
Fol: Aaron Sandilands, Paul Haselby, Ryan Crowley
Int: Keplar Bradley, Dean Soloman, Matt De Boer, Garrick Ibbotson