AFL great questions Fremantle’s forward planning

“(Matthew) Taberner’s one, (Brennan) Cox is another who kicked three goals in the first half last night, (Cam) McCarthy who didn’t play but he’s been there go-to, then you throw (Jesse) Hogan and (Rory) Lobb in.

“They’re the two they’ll have, and I reckon Cox is going to be hard to dislodge … so then you’ve got a bit of an issue in terms of the right mix, whether you can keep pressure in your forward 50.

“I would love to sit down with Ross Lyon and say, ‘how are you seeing your forward line set up, what’s your ideal forward line look like?'”

Hogan spent considerable time midfield against the Magpies and also in an intraclub match last week and the Fremantle coach said last month he was still to decide the best structure going forward.

“The trend in AFL footy is the smaller mobile forward line but the Eagles were able to play taller, so how many (talls) exactly we play we’re going to have to work through it,” he said at the time.

“Until we get to games and assess availability, it’s a case of best-laid plans.”


Lyon was also criticised by Lyon after the Dockers played a spare man in defence against Richmond in round seven, despite dominating the centre clearances and inside 50s against reigning premiers.

“In the first half they won the clearance count 23 to eight, Fremantle. They won the centre bounce clearances six to one, yet they played five players in front of the footy,” he said at the time.

“So what they’re doing is winning at stoppages, kicking the footy long and there was Richmond’s backline just marking the ball at will. Why play five forwards against the best defence in the competition when you’re winning clearances?”

But the former Demons captain said he thought Fremantle could improve significantly in 2019 after eight wins and a 14th-placed finish last season.

“They can win 10 games. It’ll be somewhere between six and 10,” he said.

The Dockers face arch rivals West Coast in the final round of JLT fixtures next Sunday at Rushton Park in Mandurah before opening the season proper against North Melbourne at Optus Stadium on Sunday, March 24.

David writes about sports and lifestyle for WAtoday.

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