The Real Footy Gets a Week Closer

Ross Lyon puts as much value in the March premiership as he does in a full body shampoo, so it's not all that surprising that Fremantle's trip to the only football ground in australia with a permanent RM Williams stall would see the Dockers put in a less than sensational performance against the Swans.

Fremantle spent most of the first quarter chasing the locals, who must have been expecting to see some flooding because they painted rainbows for the fifty metre arcs. Ross Lyon wasn't prepared to run his players into the ground for a pre-season game so the normal trademark unrelenting defence found itself relented quite a bit. At quarter time the Swans had put on a tidy three goals while Fremantle didn't bother the goal umpire's right hand.

The wind at their backs made life a bit easier in the second quarter and some Fyfe brilliance had the Dockers bring up their first goal, Nik Suban got a bit cheeky to make it a couple but they were pretty keen to keep themselves running in economy mode. Alex Silvagni looked like a player who expects his opportunities to improve this season, a few more games into Michael Johnson will have him starting the season in All Australian form and Lachie Neale appeared keen to be the next reason that Nat Fyfe misses out on a Brownlow.

A heavy shower started the third quarter which had the fitness blokes asking if they were allowed to follow Nat Fyfe around with a bit tarp but it didn't last long and Fyfe waved the tarp off and called for the special wet weather hair band. All the hair band achieved was allowing him to see the dog’s breakfast the game became, as neither side showed a particular keenness to test the limits of their hamstrings and knee joints in the loosening turf. Fremantle failed to score for the quarter, although achieved their goal of surviving injury free. UNfortunately Michael Walters was reported but the club are hoping that Malcolm Turnbull's incompetence means the AFL’s recording of the game buffered out at the contentious moment.

With Fremantle barely getting up a sweat, for the opening three quarters, the Swans decided they may as well pack things up and be ready to get moving as soon as the siren sounded so the football that followed didn’t do the prettiness of the ground justice. Fremantle staged a mini fightback in the vacuum of an opposition but the real winner on the day was the fitness staff who had their players returned to them in better than expected condition.

Sydney 0.3.6 0.5.8 1.6.13 1.7.14 65
fremantle 0.0.3 0.3.7 0.3.7 1.6.11 56
Sydney Goals
Bird 2
Cunningham 1
Hannebery 1
Heeney 1
Franklin 1
B.Jack 1
Parker 1
fremantle Goals
de Boer 2
Fyfe 2
Suban 1
Mayne 1. Clarke 1
Daniel Bandy Medal Votes
Lachy Neale 3Nat Fyfe 2David Mundy 1
ReportsMichael Walters ("Rough" conduct)

Dockerland Budget: Sydney v Fremantle

To save people forking over their hard earned money to the AFL in exchange for a magazine that gets bigger every week, making it harder to get to the only part you actually want - the names of the players, we've introduced the Dockerland Budget.


Everything Checks Out In Pre-Season Opener

While your lepper clubs like Melbourne get very excited around this time of year, hoping that the they plucked out of the local grammar schools, Fremantle treat the pre-season competition more like a dental check-up. It's something they have to do and they're just hoping that everything is in the same sort of condition it was the last time they had a good look, in mid September.

They eased into the season with a line and length opening quarter. Some running was done, a bit of careful avoidance of the over zealous young Melbourne types, keen to win the love of Paul Roos and make the most of their performance based contracts before the debt collectors roll in to the MCG and liquidate the place. Matt Taberner got in an early confidence booster from a free kick that was clearly there according to the home crowd but when Ballantyne and Pavlich cruised into action with some effortless brilliance, he must have realised he's got his work cut out for him.

It was a pretty routine warm up to the season, plenty of running about, the odd flash of unseasonal genius and plenty of kicks over the head of team mates.

Then came the second quarter. Ross decided to stretch the blokes out a bit and would have been pretty pleased with how he'd turned them out after a long summer. Everything was operational, from Stephen Hill's midfield dancing to Michael Walters boot of majesty, Mundy's power running, Spurr's thin purple line right through to Barlow's naked gut. There was nothing new to see, no tricks were on show, it was just a premiership quality team running through the drills like a professional football team.

Then they appeared to spend half time heading off for a lamb sandwich and a Choc 99 (or the "Colin Sylvia Breakfast" as it was listed on the menu) Presumably confident that everything was in working order, they decided to rest themselves in the third quarter, giving Melbourne a bit of a look at the footy after spending the second quarter rethinking their career options.

The goal of both teams in the last quarter appeared to be simply to meet their contractual obligations with the AFL and finish the required number of minutes, with the sea breeze knocking off early and even the most ardent heritage campaigns rethinking their objections to putting up something to block the sunbaked vista.

There were a few almost highlights to keep the locals interested, Taberner kicked his third goal, but a few lowlights with Duffield leaving the ground holding his arm and a few niggles popping up for Barlow, Mundy and Johnson. As always in March, they'll be better for the run.

fremantle 3.2 7.4 7.5 9.7 61
melbourne 3.1 3.2 6.6 6.7 43
fremantle Goals
Pavlich 3
Taberner 3
Crozier 1
Walters 1
Mayne 1
melbourne Goals
Newton 1
Dawes 1
Jones 1
Kent 1
Hogan 1
vandenBergx 1
Danile Bandy Medal Votes
Stephen Hill 3Lachie Neale 2Nick Suban 1
InjuriesBarlow (ankle), Mundy (ankle), Duffield (shoulder)

Dockerland Budget: Fremantle v Melbourne

To save people forking over their hard earned money to the AFL in exchange for a magazine that gets bigger every week, making it harder to get to the only part you actually want - the names of the players, we've introduced the Dockerland Budget.


Draft Day: Ed Langdon Pick #54

Ed Langdon
Sandringham Dragons

Height: 182cm
Weight: 72kg
Position: Forward

ED LANGDON'S season looked over when he injured his finger at the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships, which left him recuperating for three months.

But the medium forward/midfielder trained hard, kept up his fitness and made a surprise appearance in the Sandringham Dragons' preliminary final defeat. 

Langdon, the younger brother of Collingwood's Tom, was understandably rusty but gathered 18 disposals and eight handball receives to show his run.

It was only his third TAC Cup game in two seasons, meaning recruiters will need to spend some time assessing his form for school side Melbourne Grammar.

Langdon has some elite speed and endurance, which makes his mix a potent one. At last month's combine, he finished in the top-10 for the beep test (level 15.3), the 20-metre sprint (2.92 seconds) and the repeat sprint test (24.06 seconds). 

In the game he suffered his finger injury, Langdon kicked four goals to help Vic Metro to a win over South Australia and it was probably the best game of his season, showing the spark and excitement he can bring to a forward set-up. 

Langdon doesn't have huge polish by foot but it's been a focus for him at the Sandringham Dragons during the year. His improvement in that area from the start of the season to when he was injured was obvious. 

The main conundrum for recruiters is the fact Langdon has played so little top-level underage football. This season he managed just two TAC Cup games and three national championship games. 
He's the size and mould of Hawthorn medium forward Luke Breust. Although he doesn't have the same deadeye approach near goal, Langdon's running capacity should see him move into the midfield more permanently, and he has shown a knack for a goal. 

Langdon's lack of footy means he is probably somewhere in the third or fourth round of the draft.

Langdon can make things happen around the ball in different ways: he's quick, active and he throws himself at the ball. Brings some energy to the forward line.

Draft Day: Connor Blakely Pick #34

Connor Blakely
Swan Districts

Height: 186cm
Weight: 81kg
Position: Midfielder

AT THE start of this year, Connor Blakely relocated from Bunbury to Perth and brought with him a desire to do everything possible to be drafted. 

Blakely hasn't always been a big, bash-and-crash midfielder who barges through packs and wins the ball. He used to be a flanker, playing half-back and half-forward, but couldn't really find his niche. 

He got it this year, and against senior company. Blakely played all season in the Swan Districts' senior WAFL team, and averaged 18 disposals in 14 games. 

The experience has been good for him. He's played against AFL-listed opponents and outclassed them, and when they have got the better of him, he's learned from it. 

That much was clear during the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships against players his own age, when Blakely was a standout. He averaged 21 disposals and seven clearances a game and was named an All-Australian. 


With ball winning at a premium in the AFL, Blakely's ability to generate possessions out of clearances and get things going should appeal to a number of clubs. 

More than half of Blakely's disposals this year were won in contested situations, a tick for his preparedness to put his head over the ball and get his hands dirty. 

Blakely is also one of the better big-bodied midfielders available, and at his size (186cm, 81kg) is someone who can walk into a club and be expected to have an early impact. 

His endurance is good and he runs all day, but the stoppages are where he has the biggest influence. He keeps his feet, thinks through situations with composure and then goes and does it again 


Blakely doesn't have the breakaway pace that other midfielders possess, and he runs a 3.19 second 20-metre sprint. His kicking is fine without being a huge strength, but he gets around that by knowing where to go and where to be to get the footy in his hands. 


The 18-year-old a similar frame, running gait and attributes as star Fremantle midfielder David Mundy, a player who has shown the benefits of being a tough and tall on-baller. Of course, Blakely isn't at his level yet but he plays in a similar style. 

Fits in some clubs' plans as a first-round pick. Likely to sit somewhere in the top 25 selections such has been his consistency and development during the season.


Blakely has done all that's been asked of him in 2014, and is ready for the next step. There are players who finish things and there are those who enjoy starting them, the ones who like putting teammates in space with a quick handball, the ones who don't need the flair to be effective. Blakely is that type of prospect.

Draft Day: Lachie Weller Pick #13

Lachie Weller

Height: 181cm
Weight: 74kg
Position: Midfielder

LACHIE Weller is a member of Gold Coast's academy, spent two months training with the club's senior squad last summer, and knows many of the Suns' players.

But having moved to Queensland from Tasmania when he was 15, he hasn't spent enough time living in the state to qualify as a priority academy selection for the Suns - something rival clubs can be pleased about.

Weller, the younger brother of former Sun and current Saints midfielder Maverick, sits among the top handful of midfielders available in this year's draft pool.

He has gone through all the talent programs to this point: he captained the AIS-AFL Academy in level one and was a member of the team's leadership group this year, and played well last season for Queensland at the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships.

Weller's 2014 campaign was up and down, but he did average 20 disposals for Southport's senior side this season and understands what the next step will require.

If clubs weren't already convinced of his quality, Weller underlined it with a stellar performance for the Allies in the NAB AFL All Stars curtain-raiser on Grand Final morning.

He gathered 20 disposals and made good decisions with the ball, and showed his skill with two excellent goals, particularly a long, spearing bomb from outside 50.


The 18-year-old's traits are obvious: he uses the ball nicely, thinks quickly, marks well above his head and athletically is very good (he has tested 2.92 in the 20-metre sprint). Weller can be used off the wing but also in the middle, and is best at setting up the play with his efficient disposal.

Weller does everything professionally – his skinfolds were the third lowest recorded at the national combine – and he knows the environment at elite level after his time with the Suns.


At 181cm, Weller isn't a big and strong midfielder. That's reflected in his style, which at this stage is more as an outside midfielder than one who thrives on winning his own ball.

He can do it, and one in three of his possessions in the TAC Cup were contested, but the balance can be improved. He had an inconsistent season, but has jumped around a few different teams.


With his dash, delivery and dare, Weller shares some traits with David Zaharakis. Weller likes kicking goals and has spent much of his season working on using his pace more in games. He is at his best when he arches his back and looks for gaps to break through.


Weller has some admirers inside the top-10 and it wouldn't be a surprise to see him selected there. If not, he won't last much longer.


Weller brings some class and composure to the top end of the draft and he's a player you want to carry and run with the ball. The best thing about him is he doesn't need big numbers of possessions to hurt; most of his touches are

Stats Clouds: Fremantle v Port Adelaide can't trust them. The Romans knew what numbers were up to and wouldn't have a bar of them. You can put your faith in a nice sturdy X but a 10, it's shifty. The only thing more iffy than a number is a statistic, they'll cut you open and rob you of your kidneys before you can say "aren't you supposed to drug me and put in a bath of ice first?". Unfortunately we're hooked on numbers though, we need them to work out how many kicks David Mundy had this week...and probably some other stuff too. The Dockerland Labs spent the summer pondering the problem and eventually, when the cricket was over, the fridge was empty and the clicker broke in everyone's pen, they came up with a solution - the stats cloud. A quick glance and you'll pretty much know everything about a game of football that there was to know, at least all the boring bits about it. The bigger the player's name, the more kicks, or marks, or tackles he had compared to his teammates. 

Matthew Taberner Garrick Ibbotson Danyle Pearce Zac Clarke Michael Barlow Zac Dawson Lee Spurr Nathan Fyfe Hayden Crozier Chris Mayne Cameron Sutcliffe Matthew Pavlich David Mundy Paul Duffield Lachie Neale Aaron Sandilands Michael Walters Ryan Crowley Stephen Hill Nick Suban Tendai Mzungu Matt De Boer
Lachie Neale Garrick Ibbotson Matthew Pavlich Matt De Boer Ryan Crowley Hayden Crozier Lee Spurr Aaron Sandilands Nathan Fyfe Zac Clarke Michael Barlow David Mundy Matthew Taberner Chris Mayne Cameron Sutcliffe Danyle Pearce Tendai Mzungu Michael Walters Paul Duffield Stephen Hill Zac Dawson Nick Suban
David Mundy Cameron Sutcliffe Lee Spurr Ryan Crowley Lachie Neale Garrick Ibbotson Michael Walters Danyle Pearce Paul Duffield Nick Suban Tendai Mzungu Zac Dawson Hayden Crozier Michael Barlow Stephen Hill Nathan Fyfe Matthew Pavlich Matthew Taberner Aaron Sandilands Zac Clarke Matt De Boer Chris Mayne
Lee Spurr Matthew Pavlich Chris Mayne Zac Clarke Aaron Sandilands Zac Dawson Cameron Sutcliffe Lachie Neale Ryan Crowley Stephen Hill Matthew Taberner Michael Walters Garrick Ibbotson Paul Duffield Hayden Crozier Michael Barlow Tendai Mzungu David Mundy Nick Suban Danyle Pearce Nathan Fyfe Matt De Boer
Zac Clarke Aaron Sandilands Michael Barlow Tendai Mzungu Cameron Sutcliffe Hayden Crozier Nathan Fyfe Ryan Crowley Matthew Taberner David Mundy Danyle Pearce Chris Mayne Nick Suban Paul Duffield Lachie Neale Matthew Pavlich Lee Spurr Garrick Ibbotson Zac Dawson Matt De Boer Michael Walters Stephen Hill
David Mundy Matt De Boer Lee Spurr Tendai Mzungu Paul Duffield Cameron Sutcliffe Ryan Crowley Nathan Fyfe Aaron Sandilands Chris Mayne Zac Clarke Stephen Hill Danyle Pearce Michael Walters Matthew Taberner Zac Dawson Matthew Pavlich Garrick Ibbotson Hayden Crozier Michael Barlow Lachie Neale Nick Suban

Freo's Flag Chances Take a Turn For the Worse

Fremantle are expected to struggle to win the flag this season after being knocked out of the finals by Port Adelaide at Subiaco Oval tonight. Barring some sort of King Ralph style incident at the Preliminary Final photo shoot, the Dockers will finish their season without any silverware and be forced to settle for the 2015 through 2019 flags, in a revisement of the 5 year plan. Freo had Port Adelaide beaten in the first half but they buggered around with the footy in front of goals, kicking 11 points in the opening half to take a 4 goal lead. With no key defenders and Ibbotson busting his arm, the Fremantle back line were always going to be up against the fast finishing Port Adelaide and a 6 goal third quarter from the Power had them back in the game for the last change. Fremantle’s goal kicking skills again abandoned them in the last quarter with another impressive tally of points, while Port dropped in another half a dozen goals to sneak home by 22 points.

fremantle 3.5 6.11 8.13 11.17 83
pt adelaide 2.2 3.5 9.9 15.15 105
fremantle Goals
Walters 3
Fyfe 2
Barlow 2
Crozier 2
Sandilands 1
Pearce 1
port adelaide Goals
Gray 4
Wingard 4
Wines 3
Monfries 1
White 1
Polec 1
Schulz 1
Clinton Wolf Medal Votes
Michael Walters 3Nathan Fyfe 2Aaron Sandilands 1
InjuriesSilavagni (busted leg) Taberner (busted groin), Ibbotson (busted shoulder)
ReportsDawson (made eye contact with Robbie Gray)

Match Reports