Fremantle’s Records in Melbourne

Whilst reading The Footy Almanac 2011, a match report between Gold Coast Suns and St Kilda caught my attention. It said that Fremantle hates playing at Etihad Stadium (the author was looking forward to St Kilda’s next match against Freo) and indeed my curiousness built up.

My research started with the Docklands Stadium (I prefer to address with the original/proper name rather than sponsored name). When the stadium opened in 2000, three AFL clubs (Essendon, St Kilda and the Western Bulldogs) became tenants. But it was not the end. I found about criticisms of the stadium on Wikipedia (although I cannot trust the site fully). What I found on the page was surface issues at the stadium that were, I believe, related to grass issues which I had heard before. Due to less sunshine as the roof can be open and closed, grass cannot be grown properly and it affects surfaces, I think.

While writing and editing the article, I had opportunities to go for a walk for approximate 30 minutes each time. What I found was that it was not good walking on pavement where was sealed by asphalt. I can imagine that the surface on the stadium affect playing performances.

Then I focused on researching about Fremantle’s home stadium, Paterson Stadium (Subiaco Oval). Once again I had to rely on unreliable Wikipedia, but I have found nothing about surface issues, as opposed to Docklands. Then my eyes stopped when I scrolled down the screen and found details of ground dimensions (AFL). But I do not collect data from Wikipedia because of unreliability and Etihad Stadium’s Wikipedia does not provide relevant data.

My Googling of Docklands Stadium’s dimensions was hit by the AFL website that I am very happy with. And I was able to get the Subiaco ones too. It is great!

Docklands Stadium                                    159.5 m x 128.8 m

Subiaco Oval                                                175.6 m x 122.4 m

As I have never played footy myself, I cannot say much about playing the sport; however I guess that when a player kicks a ball or handballs towards his team’s goal, the chance of a turnover in a short length stadium is more, I think. Then clubs might score fewer goals at such a venue (like Docklands). It must be hard for Fremantle players to play at Etihad Stadium because they get used to play in the longer stadium (Subiaco Oval). Also I think they do not get used to hard surface at Docklands.

In between writing this article, I remembered that Carlton wanted to play more home games at the MCG in 2015. Again, I started researching why they wanted to host more MCG matches. But it is not because they do not like conditions at Etihad Stadium. Instead the footy club became an Etihad tenant controversially at the time when their club president Ian Collins was also the chief executive officer at the stadium. Situations about Docklands between Fremantle and Carlton are different.

I apologise Fremantle fans to do so, but I have conducted some analys of the club’s records between 2009 and 2014.

Fremantle Win/Loss/Draw record in Home and Away season (column one) vs. at Melbourne stadiums (column two):

2009                            6-16-0                         0-6-0

2010                            13-9-0                         2-4-0

2011                            9-13-0                         0-6-0

2012                            14-8-0                         4-1-0

2013                            16-5-1                         3-2-0

2014                            16-6-0                         3-2-0

When the story I read was written, Mark Harvey was coaching the club. Months later, sadly Harvey lost his job and Ross Lyon took over. Then it is said that Freo started making good records in Melbourne. Fremantle even beat his old club (St Kilda) at Etihad Stadium at Round 4 in 2012 where experts tipped St Kilda to win.

In the last three years, Fremantle won 10 matches in Melbourne and lost five, compared to two wins and 16 losses between 2009 and 2011.

Both Harvey and Lyon coached Finals series matches – including those held at MCG.

In 2010, Mark Harvey lost the Semi Final against Geelong, while Lyon won an Elimination Final against Geelong in 2012. However Lyon was not able to be a Premiership coach last year when they played against Hawthorn.

My guess is that Lyon knows about conditions and atmosphere at Etihad Stadium from his time at St Kilda, so he was able to make a better game plan for when Dockers play at Docklands. But the Saints have strong power and energy against Freo, I reckon.

Not only win loss records, but also I surveyed margins. Here are records of average winning and losing margins. The data below shows the average winning margin at all venues and average losing margin in all venues. The second set of data is the average winning margin at Melbourne venues and average losing margin in Melbourne venues.

2009                            23.7          40.9                               0.0         52.0

2010                            34.8          41.3                             26.5          42.5

2011                            25.9          45.9                               0.0           57.5

2012                            35.7          29.4                             28.0          29.0

2013                            43.9          37.0                             53.0          49.0

2014                            39.9          27.7                             42.7           58.0

This data shows that average losing margins are more in Melbourne (except in 2012) and average winning margins have been lower in Melbourne until 2012.

I understand that home sides have more advantages in general in sports. It is hard for away clubs to win matches if both sides are close on the ladder, although some stadiums are said to be more unfriendly to visitors that others.

As I would like to keep fairness in writing, I will take further researches to find out about St Kilda record in Victoria and interstate. Results will be released in another article and I hope it will be done at least by the beginning of January next year.




If you want to do your own Fremantle and Ross Lyon research, you can find plenty to digest in the 2014 Footy Almanac. Order your copy here



About Yoshihiro Imagawa

Love, passion and pride are seen on the footy that is the biggest part of my life. 1. St Kilda Club member: I am a passionate and crazy Sainter. Just hope we will win the second flag soon, especially after Dogs and Tigers having ended long premiership draughts. 2. The Osaka Dingoes Player and Public Relations Officer: Player number 44 that I chose to honour Stephen Milne with my wish being like a small forward like him. Lenny Hayes' hardworking attitudes are adopted on my trainings and practices. Nick Riewoldt's great plays are in my player audiobook too. 3. Writing: Here on the Almanac and also on the World Footy News. My skills utilise on great footy websites.


  1. Good morning Yoshi

    1. You seem to be very interested in Fremantle. I think they will become your team.

    2. Did you know that the Dockers won their first two games at Docklands in the stadium’s first season in 2000? They beat Richmond by a point (Tony Modra kicked seven goals) in round four and then Collingwood by 22 points in round eight. It had a different sponsor’s name then. We started calling it Dockerland.

    3. Speaking of sponsor’s names for footy grounds. You said early in your article that you preferred to use the name Docklands… so do I. However later in the article you started using the corporate name. This shows the power of advertising and is why we must always be careful.

    4. When I’m rich I will sponsor footy grounds and (a) let them have their real name and (b) allow silence at the breaks and (c) have no noisy ads on the scoreboards.

  2. G’day Les,

    Thanks for your interesting comment. It’s great!

    Here are my responds to your comment:

    1. I am afraid to say, but I am a St Kilda diehard. My interests in the Dockers come from Ross Lyon who coached the Saints and left the club controversially.

    2. I didn’t know about Freo won the first two matches at Docklands in 2000. Thanks for telling me.

    3. I lost myself due to the power of advertisements by corporate. I should have kept address Docklands Stadium.

    4. I like what you will offer. You would be generous both to the AFL and fans. Brilliant!

    Have a wonderful weekend :)


  3. Gday Yoshi – I, like Les, think you have a secret thang for the Purps. Or maybe just Rolly? In reference to your piece I think it was Ross who said (I stand corrected) “I dont recall any oval getting a kick” an addendum comment to “anyone, anywhere, anytime”. cheers

  4. Good work Yoshi. I totally concur with you re Wikipedia. You may read some nteresting material on there, but its accuracy is alwyas questionable. It is certainly not a reference one can quote with any confidence.

    Now how does the Dockers record stand at the MCG? In their very first match, back in 1995, they pushed Richmond to a tight finish. Since then i’d be suprised at if they’d had many close encounters there, let along how often they’d won. I’d be suprised if their record there has improved under Ross Lyon, as his negative coaching style does not work too well on the MCG..


  5. G’day Sean and Glen,

    Thanks for your comments and compliments.

    Sean, as I have mentioned in the respond to Les’ comment, Ross makes curiousness to do some researches on his current club. He seemed to encourage his players not to worry about venues. But I have recently found that St Kilda who were coached by Ross lost only two games at Docklands in 2009.

    Glen, once again, thanks for your compliment. Even Ross’ game plan is based on defense, his Freo’s records at MCG (home and away seasons) are 1 win and 1 loss each between 2012 and 2014. At Elimination Final in 2012, Freo won over Geelong at MCG, but the next year they lost against Hawthorn at their first Grand Final. Fremantle’s records playing at MCG under Ross Lyon are not as good as St Kilda’s records playing interstate under him in 2009. Between 2009 and 2014, Freo’s closest margin at their matches at Docklands was nine points of the winning game over Carlton at Round 13, 2010. That is what I can offer at the moment (sorry I have not researched all Freo’s matches since their first year, 1995).



  6. No probs Yoshi. Keep up the good work.


Leave a Comment