Preview Fremantle 2019 Season Preview

wayToGo_

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WTG claiming to not be a journo yet this article has all the hallmarks of a highly paid professional - mainly in that it’s clear most of the ideas come from BigFooty posts that get written into an article without any reference whilst sounding like they are the original musings of the author. Are you Hackdorn???? :D
The trick to writing a good article is ignoring 90% of what is posted on BF... When will Haggers learn?

And highly paid professional journalist is a double oxymoron. Hopefully my writing is more highly paid professional than it is journalist.
 

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sherrif

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Epic write up, well done. My money is on Darcy being #1 ruck though ;)
I was a bit fed up with reading finger nail deep analysis from paid journalists who don't appear to have even watched a Fremantle game in the past couple of years. So I thought I'd write my own Season Preview as a Freo tragic hopefully that some other Freo tragics will enjoy...

Overview

Another big off season for Fremantle saw 10 new faces, making it a total of 32 players over the past 3 seasons. I’m not sure why Fremantle didn’t receive greater applause for managing what they did in the last off season? Starting with an unbalanced list and just one pick in the first 4 rounds and still managed to transform a worst in league forward line into one that could quickly become a great one? Nobody should be pencilling in a grand final appearance just yet but the list is certainly in far better shape than it was this time last year. And it looks poised to continue improving year on year for the foreseeable future.

Out: Lachie Neale, Michael Johnson, Lee Spurr, Danyle Pearce, Tommy Sheridan, Cam Sutcliffe, Brady Grey, Michael Apeness, Luke Strnadica

In: Jesse Hogan, Rory Lobb, Reece Conca, Travis Colyer, Sam Sturt, Luke Valente, Lachie Shultz, Brett Bewley, Jason Carter, Tobe Watson

Biggest Loss from the Trade Period?

In a team that finished 16th for contested possessions and 14th for clearances in 2018, losing Lachie Neale's 15.0 contested possessions (2nd behind Nat Fyfe) and team high 7.1 clearances per game is going to be a big hole for Freo to firstly fill and then try to improve upon. But as we've seen at other clubs, what seems a major loss on the surface can become a great opportunity for others to step up and grasp with both hands. It can also create a better sharing of responsibility across a playing list, reduce reliance on key individuals, make things less predictable and abate any loss of players to injury throughout the season. The opening for an in-and-under first possession ball winner has come at precisely the right time for Connor Blakely to put his hand up. Having completed his apprenticeship at half back and improved both his accountability and disposal, he is now ready to play as a full time midfielder.

The injection of numerous forwards onto the list means the rotation of David Mundy, Michael Walters and Harley Bennell into the midfield won’t cripple the forward line when they do. Similarly, Adam Cerra and Andrew Brayshaw's completion of their first full pre-season, allowing them to play longer stints across half back and cameos through the midfield will release Blakely and potentially Stephen Hill (when fit) to spend plenty of time in the middle.

Neale's departure also presents a chance for those assuming his role to provide a greater impact per possession and be more accountable when Fremantle don't have the ball. Reece Conca's stats in 2018 for Richmond would have had him as Fremantle’s clear best tackler (Brayshaw was Freo's best), and 4th best midfielder for score involvements and contested possessions. Impressive given he played mostly off half back. He’s no superstar but he’s a solid footballer that can and will play a role. Similarly with Blakely and Bailey Banfield, if they can get the ball into the hands of better ball users rather than try to do too much, then they'll improve Fremantle’s defensive accountability whilst filling the ball winning void left by Neale.

Which Player Traded in Will Have the Biggest Impact?

Stiff on Rory Lobb, who instantly adds one of the best ruck forwards and contested markers in the competition to Freo's best 22 but bringing in one of the AFL's best young key forwards in Jesse Hogan is a coup for Fremantle. It's not just his 2.4 goals per game (9th in the AFL in 2018) that should excite Freo fans, he was also in the top 10 across all AFL players for score involvements with a massive 7.6 per game. Nat Fyfe was 5th with 7.9 per game. Neale wasn't even in the top 100 AFL players (both Mundy & Walters were). Hogan doesn't just kick goals, he creates them, which is something Fremantle desperately needs to improve its scoring by at least 3 goals per game and start mixing it with the best teams. His presence will improve those around him, and people forget he is still only 23 with plenty of room for improvement.

Which Draftee Will Make an Immediate Impact?

How an elite kick and elite runner in Brett Bewley lasted to pick #59 in the national draft is a bit of a mystery? He's already caught the attention of the coaches, the players, and the training watchers and appears almost a lock to debut in round 1. Knocks on his speed were somewhat disproven when he ran a sub 3 second 20 metre sprint at the combine. Although he has lined up predominantly on the outside in the VFL, his attributes could easily translate to playing more of an inside role at AFL level in time. Freo's forwards should be licking their lips at the prospect of Bewley delivering the ball on a silver platter to them inside 50. The step up to AFL from the state leagues is bigger than most anticipate so expectations should be tempered but Bewley looks an incredible prospect for both Freo and those playing fantasy in 2019.

The Smokey to Debut and Dominate?

He's hard to miss at training with his skinny ghost white frame but Sam Sturt brings many of the attributes Fremantle’s new look forward line needs even with the addition of Hogan and Lobb. Like Stephenson showed at Collingwood, you don't need a seasoned AFL body to make an impact if you have elite speed, elite agility and good hands in the air. And especially so if you slot into a forward line with other dangerous targets to draw away the best defenders. Without having yet played a full season of football it's unfair to expect too much from Sturt early on but he's already proven he can step into unfamiliar territory and make an immediate impact after switching from cricket mid-season this year and smashing the TAC Cup finals. With his elite athletic profile and our small forward brigade being less than impressive in 2018, there is no reason he can't earn a debut next season and play a fair few games.

Who is Primed for a Breakout Season?

Some may argue Blakely already has but his move to a prominent position in the midfield will shine the spotlight on him each and every week. He and Fyfe will form a formidable duo. Darcy Tucker, Logue, Cox, Brayshaw, Cerra, Banfield, Switkowski and Duman are in the mix to be the big improvers in 2019.

Who is at the Last Chance Saloon?

Two games in three seasons makes Bennell the clear choice here. Early pre-season signs have been encouraging but his body and his mental state need to hold up well this season for him to remain an AFL player. Shane Kersten, Ethan Hughes, Ryan Nyhuis, Scott Jones and Tucker would all want a good season to retain their spots on the list come the end of next year. Sandilands and Ballantyne are almost certainties to be entering their final season.

How Does Fremantle Need to Improve?

IN THE MIDFIELD

Pressure Around the Ball

Knowing who and when to jump in and win the ball is often the difference between the best and worst midfields. Avid Fremantle watchers will recall the collective crowd sighs in recent seasons when multiple Fremantle midfielders would chase the ball allowing an opposition mid to shoot out a quick handball to one of their many wide open teammates, forcing Freo's outside mids to close the space and leave their man wide open to then receive the ball over the top, run in and make an unpressured kick to a leading forward inside 50.


Good midfields instinctively know whose turn it is to jump in to try and win the ball or failing that, force a holding the ball decision or at least a stoppage. The rest remain spread evenly around the contest to block any outlet passes and locate space to attack into should they win the ball. Teammates must trust that they can each play their roles and work hard in both directions and not leave a burden for others to have to deal with.


Unlike all the other AFL clubs, Fremantle regularly played 1, 2 or sometimes even 3 first year players in the midfield at the same time last season. Given this, the highly critical assessments from commentators have been pretty unfair as relative to experience they probably outperformed expectations last year. Fans should expect considerably improved coordination, pressure, tackling and accountability at stoppages in 2019, and further improvement again in 2020 as Freo’s young midfielders mature both physically and mentally.

Winning the Contested Ball

Fremantle's reliance on Fyfe and Neale to win the vast majority of the ball must shift for them to become more competitive. Those two alone accounted for a quarter of all contested possessions in the games they both played last season. The responsibility to win the ball must be better shared, particularly across the midfield group. With improvement in Freo's 2nd year midfielders and better sharing of load amongst senior midfielders, Freo should win more ball, be better at retaining possession, and not get destroyed on the spread when the opposition has the ball.

IN THE BACK LINE

Intercepts, Intercepts and More Intercepts

Fremantle were 16th for intercept possessions last season. It's one of only a handful of statistics in 2018 were there is some sense of correlation between how they rank versus ladder position. Joel Hamling and Luke Ryan comfortably led Freo's pack of interceptors, which is a positive given it isn't their primary role but also a clear indication Freo could benefit a lot by adding a gun interceptor to the back line. Most suitably playing in that 3rd tall back role and being capable of rolling off their opponent regularly. Early pre-season predictions have earmarked athletic defender Griffin Logue as the most likely to assume that role, having come back in superb shape after missing the whole of last season. However Fremantle also needs their other fringe defenders to improve their intercepting prowess and create pressure for the selection committee.

Having a back line stacked with strong interceptors is futile though if the midfield and forward line aren't providing the necessary pressure down field. Better midfield accountability and stopping opposition teams rebounding out of defence unimpeded will go a long way to not only greater intercept numbers but also turning the pressure valve back on the opposition by causing these turnovers closer and closer to Freo's own forward line. You can always tell when a Ross Lyon game plan is being executed correctly when you see Freo’s defenders spread from the centre line to half forward gobbling up the opposition's pressured kicks out of Freo’s forward 50 and them launching the ball straight back in with repeat entries.

Attacking from Kick-Ins

With the rule change allowing the player kicking-in to run without needing to play on, expect Nathan Wilson to take full advantage in 2019. Both he and Ryan will also benefit from vastly better contested marking targets to kick to outside Freo’s defensive 50. Fans will be relived seeing far fewer dinky kicks to the pocket from kick-ins, that I assume were attempts to shift the defence but more often than not just added pressure for the receiver to rush their disposal and risk turnovers directly in front of goal. A fit Brad Hill, who only managed 10 games last season, along with Ed Langdon, and the addition of Bewley and Travis Colyer should result in greater confidence and depth to break lines, and a willingness to use the centre corridor to transition the ball from defence to attack quickly and effectively.

Less Borrowing from the Midfield

With 11 fit and available defenders on the list, Fremantle shouldn’t need to bolster the back line as much with seasoned midfielders (eg Blakely and Hill). The core of Alex Pearce, Hamling, Wilson and Ryan, most likely means one or two spots for the remaining defenders to fill plus youngsters rotating via the midfield such as Adam Cerra and Andrew Brayshaw.

IN THE FORWARD LINE

Inside 50 Pressure and Tackles

Fremantle was 18th (last) for tackles inside 50 in 2018. With experienced small forwards Walters, Brandon Matera and Hayden Ballantyne playing 18, 18 and 17 games respectively that is an unacceptable return. Matera has clearly seen the writing on the wall, coming back this pre-season considerably fitter. But the small forward selection door remains plenty ajar for young forward option Sam Switkowski, who ended the year superbly against Collingwood in just his second game, plus new draftees Lachlan Shultz and Sam Sturt who both bring youthful enthusiasm and speed. Formerly a strength of Ross Lyon coached teams, fans should expect pressure inside 50 to vastly improve in 2019.

More Marks Inside 50

Not surprisingly teams that mark the ball inside 50 a lot, get more shots at goal and therefore tend to kick more goals. The addition of Jesse Hogan and Rory Lobb provides two genuine inside 50 marking threats both on the lead and in a contest. They should form a formidable 3 or 4 prong tall attack alongside some combination of Matthew Taberner, Brennan Cox and Cam McCarthy.

Increasing Supply and Efficiency Inside 50

Fremantle were 16th for inside 50s and 14th for efficiency once they got it inside 50 in 2018 and turned the ball over a lot forward of centre, often even before it got within goal range. Many will argue the fault for a lack of inside 50 supply lies with the midfield but the half forwards are tasked just as frequently with receiving the ball and kicking it inside 50. If they either aren’t finding space to receive nor delivering the ball with precision when they do, then the end result is generally a turnover that rebounds quickly in the opposite direction. Fremantle should have a considerably improved half forward line in 2019 and one that is capable of both far greater supply and efficiency inside 50. If Stephen Hill can finally overcome his quad problems then both he and Bewley could turn around Freo’s inside 50 delivery issues from the midfield in a big way.

Possible Best 22

B Griffin Logue ~ Joel Hamling ~ Luke Ryan

HB Nathan Wilson ~ Alex Pearce ~ Adam Cerra

C Ed Langdon ~ Nat Fyfe ~ Brad Hill

R Aaron Sandilands ~ David Mundy ~ Connor Blakely

HF Harley Bennell ~ Jesse Hogan ~ Michael Walters

F Brandon Matera ~ Matthew Taberner ~ Rory Lobb

I/C Stephen Hill ~ Brett Bewley ~ Andrew Brayshaw ~ Reece Conca

There are fair arguments for Cox, Colyer, Banfield, Darcy, McCarthy, Switkowski and Duman to all be in the best 22 as well. Delayed starts due to injuries should see some of them line up round 1.

Depth

Rucks: Sean Darcy, Scott Jones, Lloyd Meek

Midfielders: Travis Colyer, Darcy Tucker, Bailey Banfield, Mitch Crowden, Tom North, Stefan Giro, Luke Valente

Key Forwards: Brennan Cox, Cam McCarthy, Hugh Dixon

Forwards: Hayden Ballantyne, Sam Switkowski, Sam Sturt, Lachlan Shultz

Key Defenders: Shane Kersten

Defenders: Taylin Duman, Ethan Hughes, Ryan Nyhuis, Tobe Watson, Jason Carter

Season Prediction

A refreshed Pearce, a returning Logue and a fitter Cerra should mean the back line takes another step forward in 2019. Not fatiguing in the second half of both games and the season as a whole should mean lower scores against and better attack from defence.

An almost brand new forward line should completely change Freo’s dynamic forward of centre resulting in better supply and efficiency, more shots at goal and higher scores. It may take time for the many new faces to gel but fans should expect improvement as early as round 1.

The midfield is where the big question marks are. Can Fyfe get through a whole season? Can Blakely step up? Can Stephen Hill get over his perpetual soft tissue injuries? Can Walters play an important role through the midfield each and every week? Can Bennell get out and stay out on the field? Will Conca help release Fyfe to become even more damaging? Can Bewley perform at AFL level? Can the young mids each take another step forward with their development and understanding of the game plan? Will pre-season S&C tweaks mean less injuries through the season?

Far too many what ifs for grandiose predictions but fans should still expect improvement across all lines. In regard to finishing ladder position, a lot will depend on where other clubs are at with their lists and although there are quite a few ageing teams, that in theory should decline, there are no guarantees. There are also some young perpetual cellar dwelling teams that might finally find the spark to improve however like us in recent seasons, key injuries could quickly cripple most of them.

Fremantle should be aiming to sneak into the finals or at the very least just miss out in 2019. If they don’t, the writing may well be on the wall for Ross. But fear not fellow supporters as the list’s future outlook will not be as dire no matter the result next season. Freo’s trading and drafting has been top shelf in the past three seasons – a stark contrast to the off seasons prior to that, and we should all see the benefits of that in the coming years.

Don't book your flights to the GF but get excited to watch some better football in 2019 Fremantle fans!
The best season preview i've read on bigfooty. Thank you and congrats WTG. The only thing id like to add is that Reece Conca could be more midfield than defender. He can definitely play both as he began his career as a half back and played there in early 2017. In 2018 he played predominately as a defensive onballer. His stats in 2018 per game completed were also slightly better than his overall stats as he got the ankle injury very early on in that game. Before the injury it looks like he was playing some very solid football in the defensive mid role.
From the club website
'Despite starting the 2017 season in excellent form at half back and playing the opening six games, Conca missed Richmond’s flag tilt due to a foot injury, instead playing in all four of Richmond’s VFL finals, including their grand final loss to Port Melbourne.

Conca returned to Richmond’s starting 22 in 2018 and played 18 games, including both of the Tigers’ finals appearances.

Playing as a defensive midfielder, Conca averaged 18.6 disposals, a career-high 7.2 contested possessions and a career-high 5.1 tackles.'

While looking up the stats for Conca I came across a comparison of Richmond players up to the round 14 bye last year.
Makes for impressive reading for Conca considering he was playing in a strong team:
Kicks
1. J. Short (191)
2. D. Martin (175)
3. R. Conca (144)
4. T. Cotchin (141)
5. N. Vlastuin (125)

Handballs
1. K. Lambert (162)
2. S. Edwards (150)
3. T. Cotchin (139)
4. D. Martin (118)
5. R. Conca (115)

Total disposals
1. D. Martin (293)
2. T. Cotchin (280)
3. K. Lambert (268)
4. R. Conca (259)
5. J. Short (253)

Contested possessions
1. T. Cotchin (149)
2. D. Martin (138)
3. T. Nankervis (120)
4. S. Edwards (114)
5. R. Conca (106)

Uncontested possessions
1. K. Lambert (167)
2. J. Short (163)
3. D. Martin (157)
4. R. Conca (145)
5. S. Grigg (144)

Centre clearances
1. D. Martin (45)
2. T. Cotchin (30)
3. T. Nankervis (21)
4. R. Conca (13)
5. S. Grigg (10)

I still think Lyon will want at least one defensive minded mid in his team each week. So Conca and Banfiled could be in direct opposition for a role in the team. Also, Conca won the Community Service Award at Richmond last year for his work with kids in hospitals. It doesnt hurt to have another solid citizen.
 
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wayToGo_

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The only thing id like to add is that Reece Conca could be more midfield than defender.
Yeah I agree. I think he is better as a defensive mid than as a half back. For both we just need him to play within his limitations. Get the ball to Ryan or Wilson when down back, and to one of our good distributors when in the middle.

When we grabbed him as a free agent I think a few Richmond fans were on here saying he still played plenty off half back last season which is why I think some of us have assumed he was back there a fair bit still. I'm not a regular Richmond watcher so I'm not sure - suspect he probably did a bit of both.

Agree he and Banfield might be fighting for one spot but also don't have a problem with us playing both given their versatility. Banfield's past season was incredibly underrated. He's only a year older than Brayshaw and Cerra, was more consistent than both of those top 5 picks, seems a bit faster than them both as well, and he's 190cm. He really could take another step and carve out his own midfield/half forward role which would be a massive plus for us. His statistical output was incredibly similar to what Crowley was producing in 2013/14 - and in just in his first season. Feel he'll remain a bit under the radar until the JLT games and then be put back in the same convo as Brayshaw and Cerra.
 

Walkingwounded

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#30
Yeah I agree. I think he is better as a defensive mid than as a half back. For both we just need him to play within his limitations. Get the ball to Ryan or Wilson when down back, and to one of our good distributors when in the middle.

When we grabbed him as a free agent I think a few Richmond fans were on here saying he still played plenty off half back last season which is why I think some of us have assumed he was back there a fair bit still. I'm not a regular Richmond watcher so I'm not sure - suspect he probably did a bit of both.

Agree he and Banfield might be fighting for one spot but also don't have a problem with us playing both given their versatility. Banfield's past season was incredibly underrated. He's only a year older than Brayshaw and Cerra, was more consistent than both of those top 5 picks, seems a bit faster than them both as well, and he's 190cm. He really could take another step and carve out his own midfield/half forward role which would be a massive plus for us. His statistical output was incredibly similar to what Crowley was producing in 2013/14 - and in just in his first season. Feel he'll remain a bit under the radar until the JLT games and then be put back in the same convo as Brayshaw and Cerra.
My understanding is that Banfield is still growing

When drafted 188cm

Now apparently 190cm and 90kg according to interview with Docker TV
 

sherrif

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#31
Yeah I agree. I think he is better as a defensive mid than as a half back. For both we just need him to play within his limitations. Get the ball to Ryan or Wilson when down back, and to one of our good distributors when in the middle.

When we grabbed him as a free agent I think a few Richmond fans were on here saying he still played plenty off half back last season which is why I think some of us have assumed he was back there a fair bit still. I'm not a regular Richmond watcher so I'm not sure - suspect he probably did a bit of both.

Agree he and Banfield might be fighting for one spot but also don't have a problem with us playing both given their versatility. Banfield's past season was incredibly underrated. He's only a year older than Brayshaw and Cerra, was more consistent than both of those top 5 picks, seems a bit faster than them both as well, and he's 190cm. He really could take another step and carve out his own midfield/half forward role which would be a massive plus for us. His statistical output was incredibly similar to what Crowley was producing in 2013/14 - and in just in his first season. Feel he'll remain a bit under the radar until the JLT games and then be put back in the same convo as Brayshaw and Cerra.
Conca's limitations have been overstated by some I think. My Uncle's a diehard Richmond supporter and he said he was in Richmond's top 12 players for most of 2018 until his ankle injury. According to him his kicking is normally very reliable, but he had a couple of howlers where he chose the wrong option in big games and thats what some Richmond supporters remember when they are bagging his foot skills. According to him the reality is his kicking is very good overall. He also said he's good in tight situations and quick enough to play on speedy small forwards or quick mids. His five+ tackles a game would also be attractive to a coach like Ross.

I agree about Banfield. I think he could potentially play a role in helping to cover the midfield loss of Neale at clearances as well with his 190cm 90kg frame. One thing that's not known by too many is that he also has a massive leap as he tested right near the top in his draft year for all of the jumping measurements compared to all potential draftees in 2017.

Interesting times ahead. Personally, I see us picking a team with plenty of players who will be rotated around the field.
 
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blue shark

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#40
The loss of Neale is at the core of discussion about Blakeley, Banfield and Conca I think. Three players who can immediately help to fill the gap, and all have a touch of the beast about them.
This argument played out on the eagles board with Priddis and Mitchell, who would replace their inside mids, and the consensus was
their midfield was sh*t.
The reality was both players had limited offensive, metres gained, brilliant hands.
Even one commentator had them finishing last?
If we do not improve in 2019 then that is more to do with camaraderie, coaching, than what is available on the park.
 

anchor man

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#41
What dominoes do you think would need to fall for Dixon to get a run? I think he is an outside chance this season .
Same as with all those close to selection.Train the house down every time hr appears on the track.Play well every week at Peel and get good numbers.
That is all any of them can do. A forward goes down from the league side, then if he has ticked all the boxes, he should be considered.
 

anchor man

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#42
WTG, how do you see McCArthy fitting into our forward line.We can not go too tall, we must play a couple of smalls.
What must be remembered about McCarthy is that at the Neeshies he was never number one forward.He was behind Cameron and Patton.At Fremantle has been expected by all and sundry to carry our forward line.Now he may be 3/4 or five best forwards, do you see him as being a force for us next season?
Also to add, who do we select as our small or smaller forwards? Ballas will get a berth first up.Lyon generally sticks with what he had from the previous season first up.So As you said Switkowski, will be pressing really hard for a berth.Did not set a foot wrong when selected.Add to them Walters, a must selection, Matera, a must bigger effort is needed,Dixon, who last year was highly praised and spoken of as a key up front.
Interesting times ahead for the selectors between the start of pre season and the beginning of the round.
 

theGav56

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#43
WTG, how do you see McCArthy fitting into our forward line.We can not go too tall, we must play a couple of smalls.
What must be remembered about McCarthy is that at the Neeshies he was never number one forward.He was behind Cameron and Patton.At Fremantle has been expected by all and sundry to carry our forward line.Now he may be 3/4 or five best forwards, do you see him as being a force for us next season?
Also to add, who do we select as our small or smaller forwards? Ballas will get a berth first up.Lyon generally sticks with what he had from the previous season first up.So As you said Switkowski, will be pressing really hard for a berth.Did not set a foot wrong when selected.Add to them Walters, a must selection, Matera, a must bigger effort is needed,Dixon, who last year was highly praised and spoken of as a key up front.
Interesting times ahead for the selectors between the start of pre season and the beginning of the round.
Holy Crapolli, we have too many forwards!!!

3 of; Hogan, Lobb, Taberner, Cox, Dixon

2 or 3 of; Walters, Bennell, Matera, Colyer, Switkowski, Schulz, Ballantyne, Crowden, Sturt

McCarthy has become a bit of a wildcard. He doesn't quite fit in either of those groups and will be difficult to match-up on in our newly generated forward line. I think if he is in form, then he is IN. Sturt looms as another wildcard for similar reasons.

It is shaping as a difficult year for Ballantyne. Having recruited Colyer, Hogan and Lobb, his experience is less critical than if we ere playing Switkowski, Cox or Dixon, and with our increased midfield depth I am hoping to see more of Walters forward. Ballantyne is not a front line selection in my opinion and needs form to force the issue. But he had a reasonable season in 2018, so who knows.

Peel will have some weapons in the new season.
 
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blue shark

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#44
Same as with all those close to selection.Train the house down every time hr appears on the track.Play well every week at Peel and get good numbers.
That is all any of them can do. A forward goes down from the league side, then if he has ticked all the boxes, he should be considered.
In the past this hasn't always guaranteed a debut, footy has changed from relying on a select few or inner circle.The better coaches are
more creative, overcome injury, loss of form to manufacture wins. It's when they earn their money.
 

wayToGo_

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Thread starter #45
WTG, how do you see McCArthy fitting into our forward line.We can not go too tall, we must play a couple of smalls.
What must be remembered about McCarthy is that at the Neeshies he was never number one forward.He was behind Cameron and Patton.At Fremantle has been expected by all and sundry to carry our forward line.Now he may be 3/4 or five best forwards, do you see him as being a force for us next season?
Also to add, who do we select as our small or smaller forwards? Ballas will get a berth first up.Lyon generally sticks with what he had from the previous season first up.So As you said Switkowski, will be pressing really hard for a berth.Did not set a foot wrong when selected.Add to them Walters, a must selection, Matera, a must bigger effort is needed,Dixon, who last year was highly praised and spoken of as a key up front.
Interesting times ahead for the selectors between the start of pre season and the beginning of the round.
IMO McCarthy is our 2nd most talented tall forward (behind Hogan and not including Mundy/Fyfe). He doesn't find much of the ball (9.9 disp/game in 2018 - the lowest of all our forwards) but when he does we tend to score (44.4% of his disposals led to scores - #1 across the team). He's someone at half forward you want with the ball and kicking inside 50. Unfortunately he only averaged 1.1 goals per game last season which is the lowest in his career. He not only needs to re-find his 1.8 goals per game (and 51.1% of disposals leading to scores that he had at GWS in 2015) but he needs to improve on that by working harder across half forward to receive the ball. If he has improved his fitness and speed this off season, and he gets his confidence back in aerial contests (he was sublime in the air in u18s) then he and Hogan both leading out from half forward will be hard to stop.

The problem for him next season is Hogan is miles ahead of him in the things Cam does well. He finds the ball twice as much, kicks the ball inside 50 just as well, creates scores more often, and is good in a contested mark situation. Cox could prove just as talented, creates goals, can take a contested grab, and only 20yo so has plenty of room for improvement. Taberner is our biggest presence inside 50 when he is on - if he can stay on then it'll be hard for the selectors not to choose him @ FF even with Lobb in the side. And then you have wildcard Sturt who is not that dissimilar to Cam as an 18yo, just more raw and with a lot more speed.

The good news is he won't be gifted games, so he'll have plenty of motivation to step up. Cam reaching his potential would be huge for Freo in that 3rd tall role playing off half forward (like Mundy was playing this year). Hopefully Hogan can be our Fyfe @ CHF with better goal kicking accuracy, and McCarthy can be a younger forward version of Mundy. Those two gobbling up everything across half forward, pin pointing passes inside 50 or putting it straight through the middle themselves. Throw in Walters, Bennell, Sturt (when ready), a resting Fyfe, a resting Mundy and that is some serious talent across half forward - a part of the ground we've struggled a lot with in the past. A fit Cam and Jesse is the key though and atm we're just hoping. If we pull that off, then let Lobb, Tabs, Cox and the small forwards fight it out for FF and the pockets :)
 

FreoMonocle

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#46
This comment I read on a youtube video looking at our season...
"ImBrokeMate9 hours ago
As a freo fan i think the season, like most years, will come down to there 2 x matchs vs west coat & geelong which they play every single year. They will likely need 2 wins out of those 4 matches to make finals. Otherwise the math just gets too hard. Freo would have to win 13 of the remaining 19 (7 of which are in Melbourne) to make finals and theres no way this freo list is doing that. When freo were top 4 a few years ago they were consistently beating both those teams. Last 3 years they are 0-12 vs these two teams......"

There is a lot to this statement, we can do well for the rest of the games, but getting to finals means getting wins against these 2 teams - I think that's a bridge too far with an unsettled midfield and forward line (no matter how good some of the talent is). That's without factoring in injury etc.
 

wayToGo_

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Thread starter #47
This comment I read on a youtube video looking at our season...
"ImBrokeMate9 hours ago
As a freo fan i think the season, like most years, will come down to there 2 x matchs vs west coat & geelong which they play every single year. They will likely need 2 wins out of those 4 matches to make finals. Otherwise the math just gets too hard. Freo would have to win 13 of the remaining 19 (7 of which are in Melbourne) to make finals and theres no way this freo list is doing that. When freo were top 4 a few years ago they were consistently beating both those teams. Last 3 years they are 0-12 vs these two teams......"

There is a lot to this statement, we can do well for the rest of the games, but getting to finals means getting wins against these 2 teams - I think that's a bridge too far with an unsettled midfield and forward line (no matter how good some of the talent is). That's without factoring in injury etc.
We only play Geelong once don't we? Rd 20 at home?

I only looked closely at our fixture a few days ago. I agree we probably need to win one of the derbys or against Geelong at home to be finals contenders - preferably both. Think our first half of the fixture is much harder than the second half. Although we do have a chance to win the first three games of the season (should be favourites to win 2 of them) which would be huge for our confidence.

I've got best case, winning 5 of our first 11 games and worst case winning 3. So that's not exactly great but it is a tough fixture (WC, COL, GWS, ADL, ESS all away and RIC at home - if we win any of those games I'd be very happy).

But for the 2nd half of the season I'm thinking 9 games (best case) or worst case, 4 games (MEL and HAW away the almost certain losses).

So 7 to 14 wins but more likely narrow to 10-12 wins putting us in 8th to 12th range. So much depends on having a fit list in the 2nd half of the season though.
 

M_rash

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#49
It is shaping as a difficult year for Ballantyne. Having recruited Colyer, Hogan and Lobb, his experience is less critical than if we ere playing Switkowski, Cox or Dixon, and with our increased midfield depth I am hoping to see more of Walters forward. Ballantyne is not a front line selection in my opinion and needs form to force the issue. But he had a reasonable season in 2018, so who knows.

Peel will have some weapons in the new season.
Am hoping Schultz and Switkowski can squeeze Ballas out. In an interview just pre-Xmas break, Ballas mentioned Schultz needed to improve his running quite a bit. So hopefully by mid year, Schultz is ready to push for a regular spot (if not earlier). You don’t draft mature agers just to play WAFL.

Switkowski could be a very handy small forward. Was an elite tackler/pressurer at VFL whilst still kicking about two goals a game. Fingers crossed he can reproduce that at AFL. With a little more composure in front of goal, he already would have. Having a full preseason will also help.

Hoping we structure up with 3 talls, 1-2 meds, and 2-3 smalls (adds up to seven? Allows for any one on the bench at any given time). Also don’t mind having flexible players who play fwd and mid, but would prefer we had a settled forward 6, with some mids who rotate thru.

Talls: Hogan, Lobb, Tabs, Cox, Dixon
Meds: McCarthy, Bennell, Sturt
Smalls: Switkowski, Schultz, Ballas, Matera

Talk about a squeeze. Means guys like Walters and Colyer would be more midfielders who rest forward than perma-forwards. Walters’ interview today still talking about more midfield minutes to help replace Neale.
 

theGav56

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#50
Am hoping Schultz and Switkowski can squeeze Ballas out. In an interview just pre-Xmas break, Ballas mentioned Schultz needed to improve his running quite a bit. So hopefully by mid year, Schultz is ready to push for a regular spot (if not earlier). You don’t draft mature agers just to play WAFL.

Switkowski could be a very handy small forward. Was an elite tackler/pressurer at VFL whilst still kicking about two goals a game. Fingers crossed he can reproduce that at AFL. With a little more composure in front of goal, he already would have. Having a full preseason will also help.

Hoping we structure up with 3 talls, 1-2 meds, and 2-3 smalls (adds up to seven? Allows for any one on the bench at any given time). Also don’t mind having flexible players who play fwd and mid, but would prefer we had a settled forward 6, with some mids who rotate thru.

Talls: Hogan, Lobb, Tabs, Cox, Dixon
Meds: McCarthy, Bennell, Sturt
Smalls: Switkowski, Schultz, Ballas, Matera

Talk about a squeeze. Means guys like Walters and Colyer would be more midfielders who rest forward than perma-forwards. Walters’ interview today still talking about more midfield minutes to help replace Neale.
The pace that Sturt and Switkowski offer will be really valuable. Make things a lot livelier forward .
 
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