AFL 1997 – Twenty Years On: Fremantle Dockers (12th)

Freo’s third season still had them chock full of mystery men (to those living east of Kalgoorlie). Clive Waterhouse was known to many by then, but he was still a bit of a mystery. Having decided to continue to (err…) unleesh the Neesh, this quirky mix of Claremont, Claremont and Claremont local WAFL players, discarded AFL journeymen, prodigal sons and unlucky draftees went OK at home in 1997, with eight of their ten wins being played during Western Standard Time hours.

In fact, this season was the high point of their early years in the quad-colours.

What can you tell us about the past, present and future of Freo’s 1997 finest? (And was Brendon Feddema’s nickname “Funky Cold”?)


List Management


AFL Debuts 1997: Trent Carroll, Matthew Clucas, Jess Sinclair, Martin Whitelaw

Players Kept Under Wraps 1997: Michael Clark, Brendon Feddema, Tony Godden, Scott Watters

Never Heard of Him: Jamie Merillo

Delistings/Retirements end 1997: Greg Madigan, Craig Burrows, David Hynes, Ben Allan (ret), Scott Watters (ret)


You can review all of the AFL 1997 lists here

About Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt

Saw my first SANFL game in 1967 - Dogs v Peckers. Have only ever seen the Dogs win 1 final in the flesh (1972 1st Semi) Mediocre forward pocket for the AUFC Blacks (1982-89) Life member - Ormond Netball Club -That's me on the right


  1. Hard to believe that one of the Adelaide Crows’ finest sons, Chris Groom, was already gone by then.

  2. G’day Swish,

    Former St Kilda coach Scott Watters seemed not to breakout in playing either. He has retired at the age of 28 that was early.

    Sadly he was not a good coach either. Poor Scotty…


  3. Chris Weaver says

    I remember Jamie Merillo. He broke his jaw in the Dockers’ debut game in 1995 against Richmond.

    The last of Jeff White’s three years at Fremantle before he was traded to Melbourne. Jeff and pick 22 arrived in a swap for pick 2 (priority pick) and pick 18. With the horse trading that followed, Fremantle gave up the option to get Brad Ottens and got Chris Bond back from Richmond. And swapped pick 18 for Daniel Hargraves. The player taken with pick 22 by Melbourne (Troy Longmuir) later lobbed back at Freo.

    By my conservative reckoning, 16 of those players finished up at other AFL clubs.

  4. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    They picked up an even better one a couple of years later Mickey, didn’t they?

    Watters was injured for all of that season Yoshi. He may have even announced his retirement before the season, according to one report.

    Yes Chris, I started looking at that “other club” scenario but decided that I’d be there forever. Thanks for the trade thread too.

  5. Dave Brown says

    Just realised I’d forgotten, or never actually realised, how much talent started off at Freo. I bet Freo are wishing they got another couple of seasons into Andrew McGovern, too.

  6. charlie brown says

    I assume Andrew McGovern is father of the Collingwood slayer Mitch?

    And i love Winston Abraham. Not necessarily for his speccie taken in Canberra (I think?) when he was with North Melbourne (one of the sixteen to change clubs). More so for his name! How many AFL footballers can say that they were named after not one but two historical world leaders?

  7. Mickey,
    Did Chris Groom end up at Nth Melb or am I mistaken ?

  8. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    The apple didn’t fall far from the McGovern tree Dave/Charlie.

    You’ve got me thinking on that last point Charlie.

    Stay tuned Smokie.

  9. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Off the Tweets:

    “Jamie Merillo had great hair (Blakely like), Jess Sinclair-like mid, played some fantastic WAFL games but broke his jaw in inaugural game.”

    “Winston Abraham, Garry Dhurrkay (RIP), Spider Burton, and Jess Sinclair all ended up at North. And Peter Mann was ex-North.”

    “Freo should still be thanking us for 2003, we traded in Steven Koops and gave them the pick with which they drafted David Mundy!”

    “Needed to beat Melb last round to make finals but would have had trouble fielding a team due to injuries. A McGovern was good.”

    “Three of them played in @SFFCBulldogs’s premiership that year – Black, Sinclair & Hynes (who won the Simpson Medal)”

  10. Mick Jeffrey says

    Wasn’t Brendon Feddema American born?

  11. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Not sure about his birthplace Mick, but there is definitely a USA connection now.

    Brendon Feddema
    Brendon is a former Ranger who played basketball for Regis University and earned his B.A. and M.A. He is currently the Assistant Principal at Legacy High School.

    Feddema was a 3 v 3 tournament champion at Rossmoyne High School in 1989 as well as a Western Australian all-state selection. His partner and he earned 2nd place in the two man beach Cottosloe tournament, and played on a men’s team in the RMR from 2004-2008 in open and “A” divisions. He coached volleyball, basketball, and coed track and field at Peak to Peak Charter School. From 2002-2005 he was the head coach of a high school girls team, and from 2002-2003 he was the head coach for the boys program. At Ballistic Volleyball Club, Brendon coached the 14 Elite team from 2013-2014 season, the 18 Elite team for the 2014-2015 season, and will coach the Ballistic17 Fedd team next season. This will be Brendon’s 4th year coaching Regis summer volleyball camps.

  12. Swiss, I was unable to find Watters in the players’ pictures. I guess his long injury forced him to be away. Poor him…

  13. Swiss? And I was going to nominate you as leading candidate for the ALP (Almanac Loonies Party) at the next Senate elections.

  14. Luke Reynolds says

    Some very watchable players in that team.
    Can recall Sheeds, after James Clement kicked 5 goals against Essendon a year or two after this, declaring Clement could kick 100 goals in a season. He ended up being one of the best defenders I’ve seen at Collingwood.

  15. Sean Gorman says

    How good a looking bloke is Willsy – I mean just drop dead handsome.

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