Sometime Freo really do want to make you heave…

Doig Medal review

by Josh Barnstable

Freo Heave Ho

Freo Heave Ho

Give Em All The Old

Freo Heave Ho

We’re The Rollers

We’re The Rockers

We’re The Mighty Freo Dockers

We’re Gonna Roll Em

And We’ll Rock Em

We’re Gonna Send Them To The Bottom

And If They Get Up

We’ll Do It Again

The parts in bold in the “song” above is exactly what the 2009 season for the Fremantle Football Club did NOT do, and exactly what they AREN’T.

After the usual build-up before the season starts that sees the Dockers up there for flag favouritism, they again failed to deliver, finished 14th with a win/loss ratio of 6/16 and had a terrible percentage of 77.34% after they kicked some low scores, none lower than the 1.7(13) they managed against Adelaide in Round 15. But with those awful performances that sometimes makes you almost throw up a purple pile of spew that could probably play better then Fremantle, they did play will on occasions, like in Round 21 when they trounced Essendon at home by 54 points, as well as beating Carlton by seven points at the Gold Coast Stadium. The usual suspects were in the top 3 for the Best and Fairest, but one bloody tall bloke has finally taken the gold off his skipper:

1. Aaron Sandilands

The biggest bloke in the AFL took out the Doig Medal for the Dockers, playing 20 games and averaging 17.4 disposals. His ruckwork was phenomenal, averaging 33 hitouts a match and tapping the ball 659 times for the year. He averaged the most hitouts in the league, and finished second for the most in the season. He gathered a lot of touches around the ground as well, Round 17 a perfect example: he collected 30 possessions, took five marks, won 31 hitouts and kicked a goal against the Eagles. His 46 hitouts against the Swans in Round 5 was a career-best.

2. Matthew Pavlich

Pavlich’s stranglehold on the medal finally came to an end, breaking a four-year run in which he finished first on each occasion. He didn’t have his best year in front of goal though, which is where he is most damaging. He kicked 28.16, with a best of three against North Melbourne in Round 9 and Sydney in Round 5. He averaged 21.7 possessions a match, and takes 4.2 marks a game. His best game came in Round 17, where he picked up 36 disposals, took five marks and laid eight tackles against the Eagles. He missed three matches for the year, but expect Pavlich to be in the running to be the Doig Medallist next year.

3. Chris Tarrant

Tarrant, with his career going nowhere and facing the axe, was shifted to defence where he excelled, returning to some of his career-best form, but stopping goals instead of kicking them. He booted 3.2 for the year, averaged 12.7 possessions and four marks a game. His best game came in Round 10, ironically when he contributed on the scoreboard. He picked up 20 possessions, took eight marks and booted two goals in the narrow loss to Richmond.

4. Paul Duffield

Duffield came of age in 2009, playing 21 games in the midfield and was a damaging player. He averaged 22.6 possessions a game, with 15.7 of them kicks, 3.6 tackles and 4.7 marks. He was ranked 18th in the league for kicks, his best game came in Round 6 against West Coast. He picked up 34 disposals, took eight marks and laid five tackles in the win. Consistency is the big factor for this mature rookie.

5. Paul Hasleby

The purple passion behind the Dockers, Hasleby made a brilliant recovery from his ACL injury he sustained before the 2008 season had started. Always a ball winner, he averaged 24.2 touches in his 22 games, as well as 4.3 marks and 2.4 tackles. He kicked 9.5, with a best of two against North Melbourne in Round 9. His best game came against West Coast in Round 6, where he picked up 35 disposals and took seven marks in the win, earning himself the Ross Glendinning medal.

6. David Mundy

Mundy finished equal 5th with Hasleby; Mr. Versatile put in a standout season where he played every game, averaging 18.7 disposals, five marks and 3.1 tackles. He also kicked 15.14, with a best of three against Sydney in Round 5. He collected a personal best 26 possessions twice for the year against Carlton in Round 14 and in Round 10 against Richmond.

7. Stephen Hill

The prize recruit for the Dockers had a great debut season, playing every game and averaging 14.8 disposals. He also kicked 9.7, and his best match came in Round 6 against West Coast where he picked up 21 possessions, took six marks, laid five tackles and booted two goals in the win. Will be a future captain in the Peter Bell mould.

8. Greg Broughton

The mature-aged rookie burst onto the scene in 2009, playing 15 games and averaging 22.9 touches a game, 6.3 marks and 3.1 tackles. He obliterated Port Adelaide in just his 12th game, picking up 37 disposals, 11 marks and he kicked a goal in the big win. Consistency will be the key.

9. Garrick Ibbotson

To the bloke with the weirdest name in the league, Ibbotson played a great year, playing every game and averaging 18.4 touches. He also took five marks per game and laid two tackles on average. He booted 3.6, and his best games were identical, with 27 disposals and four marks against Brisbane in Round 16 and Port Adelaide in Round 19. Big part of Freo’s future.

10. Steven Dodd

Dodd put in another consistent effort in a backline that is often being attacked, playing every game and taking 4.4 marks a match. He also averaged 16.6 disposals, with a career best of 28 in Round 1 against the Western Bulldogs. His effort later in the season against the Doggies was his best game, picking up 25 possessions, taking seven marks and he laid seven tackles in the loss.

Where to now for Freo? The next couple of years might look bleak, but once some of the babies coming through the Purple Haze start to develop, the Dockers will be ready to make a play at their first ever AFL premiership. Some of those kids include Hayden Ballantyne, who will form a close and dangerous partnership with Nic Suban, Matt De Boer was solid down back in his first season while Jay van Berlo and Tim Ruffles look likely prospects. Fremantle will improve, maybe not next year, but they won’t be the laughing stock of the AFL in a few years time. They will be heaving their way to a premiership.

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