Despite being touted as one of the favourites to win the inaugural AFLW competition, the Dockers were saved by percentage from claiming the unwanted wooden spoon. In 2018, things could very well be similar, however, the Dockers are expected to show a lot more fight than they did last season, and should a lot more competitive this season.
The Coach: Michelle Cowan
Captains: Kara Donnellan
Donnellan was superb in her role as captain last season, and was rightfully re-appointed ahead of the 2018 season. Donnellan ranked inside the top 10 for the league in total disposals, tackles, clearances, inside 50s, contested disposals and goal assists, just to name few. She also did this at a disposal efficiency of 64%, an amazing effort considering only three other players achieved higher ratings.
The team rightfully delisted a lot of players following last season’s huge disappointment, however, their trade period was extremely quiet, with the only acquisition coming through free agency as Kellie Gibson signed on. The draft was an interesting night for the Dockers, as they selected Stephanie Cain with their first selection, whom was delisted by the Dockers at the conclusion of last season. Her form in the WAWFL was simply too good to pass up on, so the Dockers rightfully handed her a second chance.
Where they sat in 2017:
The Dockers had a miserable 2017 season, finishing second last only by percentage, as well as scoring only a measly 25 goals for the season. They started off with a heavy 32-point loss to the Bulldogs and didn’t improve from there.
They had a draw with GWS in round three, but had to wait until the second last round to record their first win, a 16-point upset win over Grand Final fancies Carlton. However, a 54-point shellacking at the hands of Melbourne in the final round just about summed up their season.
In: Kellie Gibson (free agent), Stephanie Cain* (pick 2), Evangeline Gooch (pick 10), Jodie White (pick 18), Ashlee Atkins (pick 26), Emily McGuire (pick 33), Alicia Janz (pick 39) and Leah Mascall (pick 43).
Out: Taryn Priestly, Taylah Angel, Tarnica Golisano, Kira Phillips, Akec Makur Chuot, Demi Okely, Stephanie Cain*, Emily Bonser, Kelly Clinch, Beatrice Devlyn, Brooke Whyte and Alicia Janz (delisted); Kim Mickle (retired).
Next of the rank… meet your captain Kara Donnellan 👋 @kdjudd15 captained the side in 2017 and will lead on the field again in the 2018 NAB AFL Women's Competition! 🙌 Fun facts 🧐 her nickname is 'Juddy', she is a midfielder and outside of #AFLW Juddy works as a Justice & high performance manager! 😁 #AFLW #ForeverFreo
The preseason so far:
The Dockers have had a very tough start to their pre-season campaign, losing their star recruit Kellie Gibson and rookie Beatrice Delvyn to injury in their recent practice match against the Crows. Delvyn has already undergone surgery to repair a finger she broke in the match and is expected to miss 4-6 weeks as a result. Gibson, on the other hand, is expected to miss about 6-8 weeks after injuring her hip flexor. They have also lost Kiara Bowers, who won’t return until after the first few weeks of the season, and Kirby Bentley who is out for the entire season with a torn meniscus. It’s fair to say, pre-season has not been so kind for the Dockers thus far.
Who to watch:
Dana Hooker. Last season’s best and fairest winner for the club, Hooker was a force through the midfield and become one of the Dockers most consistent performers week-in, week-out. Hooker prides herself on winning the contested ball, but it was her fitness which really shone as this enabled her to run riot through the middle last season. She will need to replicate that this season should the Dockers have any hope of making a finals push.
Also keep an eye on Stephanie Cain. After being delisted by the Dockers at the end of last season, Cain used this as motivation to produce a breakout season for Swan Districts in the WAWFL, winning the club’s best and fairest in a premiership season. A remarkable feat and why the hard-working midfielder is a must to look out for the Dockers this season.
The Dockers face a tough task in round one as they travel to the Whitten Oval to tackle the Bulldogs, however, they then return back home to face Collingwood and Melbourne in consecutive weeks where they can really prove their worth. In round five they host GWS as a very winnable match, before finishing the season hosting the Blues in what will be a tough encounter with the Blues expected to go close to all the way this season.
The Dockers should be a lot more competitive in their matches than what they were last season, however, they still lack the quality and depth to match it with the better teams —7th spot.
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— Fremantle Dockers (@freodockers) January 23, 2018