AFL Draft

AFL Draft Preview: Fremantle Dockers

List Breakdown by position:

Key Def Gen Def Mid Mid/Fwd Gen Fwd Key Fwd Ruck Total
5 6 8 2 5 5 3 34

 

Average Age: 25.1

Players In: Brandon Matera (Gold Coast), Nathan Wilson (GWS)

Players Out: Hayden Crozier, Harley Balic, Lachie Weller

Retired/Delisted: Zac Clarke, Sam Collins, Josh Deluca, Jonathan Griffin, Matthew Uerbergang, Zac Dawson, Garrick Ibbotson, Shane Yarran, Nick Suban

Draft Picks: 2, 5, 42, 60, 66, 70, 77, 80, 90

What They Got/Lost:

The Dockers were one of the massive winners out of the trade period.

They managed to convince Gold Coast to give up pick #2 for Lachie Weller and pick #41, meaning it will be the first time since 1999, that the Dockers will take two top five picks into the National Draft.

They also snared Gold Coast livewire small forward Brandon Matera for their 2018 third round draft pick. Matera is a massive in for the Dockers, especially considering Hayden Ballantyne (30) is nearing the end of his career.

Attaining Nathan Wilson was a superb get for the Dockers, slotting straight into the starting 22, replacing Weller. It could be argued that Wilson’s kicking skills are the best in the competition and his drive off half-back will be critical for Fremantle.

Unfortunately though, Fremantle did have to cough up Hayden Crozier and Harley Balic in the trade period.

They traded Crozier to the Western Bulldogs along with a future fourth-round draft selection for picks #40 and #82. Crozier looked to have just cemented his spot in Fremantle’s best 22 and his elite marking and rebounding skills would have been wonderful for Ross Lyon to have at his disposal.

It was well-known that Balic wanted to go back home to Victoria, as the talented youngster suffered homesickness throughout the year. But pick 66 was too low for a kid who was an U18 All-Australian in 2015 and had drawn comparisons to Collingwood star Scott Pendlebury. In an ideal world, the Dockers would have made Melbourne give up either pick 29, 31 or 36 for the talented youngster.

What They Need:

The Dockers are crying out for another young ruckman to help Sean Darcy. Luke Strnadica is tracking along nicely, but Aaron Sandilands is 35 years old and 2018 is very likely to be his last year of AFL football.

Their next priority must be a key defender. Zac Dawson (retired) and Sam Collins (delisted) are no longer at the club, while Michael Johnson (33) is in the twilight of his career.

The Dockers will also be keen to secure a key forward to provide a focal point in the attacking half.

A lower priority is bolstering their midfield with veterans David Mundy (32) and Danyle Pearce (31) nearing the end of their careers.

On The Radar:

For a long time it has been widely regarded that Luke Davies-Uniacke and Cameron Rayner will be the players to be snared in the first two selections. Davies-Uniacke is a big-bodied midfielder is clean around the stoppages and thrives in big games, not unlike Sydney star Josh Kennedy. Rayner, on the other hand, has drawn comparisons to Brownlow Medallist Dustin Martin, due to his power, explosiveness, and his damaging skills.

At pick five (#5), the Dockers should pick up local star Aaron Naughton. The 2017 WA U18s MVP was a star for the Sandgropers at centre half-back at this year’s U18 Championships, often taking intercept marks and rebounding the ball with class. He has been compared to West Coast star Jeremy McGovern, and if Fremantle do not pick him, you get the feeling it could come back to haunt them.

It’s a bit of a while till the Dockers next pick at 42 but there are some good prospects to look at for this selection. Callum Coleman-Jones could slide to this selection and the Dockers should pounce on him, as he has the potential to be one of the premier ruckmen in the AFL.

With their remaining picks the Dockers (60, 66, 70, 77, 80 & 90) could target the likes of Isaac Hewson (Norwood, SA) Scott Jones (East Perth, WA), Nick Meese (Williamstown, Vic), Ben Miller (Subiaco, WA), Liam Ryan (Subiaco, WA) or Jordan Sweet (North Adelaide) as well as several others.

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