Roger’s Crystal (Foot) Ball – Fremantle

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2015 season: 3rd (post finals)

2016 Prediction: 6th

THE BRIEF

Lost the preliminary final to eventual premier Hawthorn having failed to capitalise on a top of the table finish. By mid last season, the Dockers were so far clear at the top of the ladder they didn’t have to do much to retain that spot from that point on, which was just as well as they never looked the same side after about round 16. I don’t think their premiership window is shut but it is only halfway ajar. Matthew Pavlich is nearing the end, as is dominant ruckman Aaron Sandilands and while I think they have a good crop of players moving forward, I think the window won’t be wide open for another few years as other teams rise around them.

THE LOCK

Nat Fyfe: I could list the reasons why Nat Fyfe is the lock on the Dockers list but if you have seen AFL in recent seasons then you would already be well aware. Last year’s Brownlow Medalist won despite missing four games with injury, an incredible effort given the calibre of the chasing pack. An interesting sideshow to season 2016 will be if Gary Ablett is fully fit and we can all sit back and make our opinions known on just who is the best player in the competition. For mine, it’s Ablett but I still think a fit Fyfe can make it back to back Brownlows. He’s currently a $6 favourite with Ablett next at $7. There is also Ladbrokes ‘Nothing Sweeter than a Repeater’ market which has a repeat Brownlow medalist at $2.15 and a new one (think Dangerfield, Selwood and co) at $1.65.

Nat Fyfe

THE STOCK

Lachie Weller: I can’t really answer as to why but I saw Weller play a few games last season which as it turns out is all he played. And I liked what I saw. He was a high draft pick and the Dockers thought enough of him to extend his contract for two years after his debut season. He might find it hard to break into the side in the early stages but if he finds form in the WAFL then I think he can make a mark.

Lachie Weller

THE SMOKIN’ BARREL

Harley Bennell: This was a pretty simple one. After a string of off field issues including having an incriminating photo of him published on the front page of Melbourne’s Herald Sun, Bennell was cut loose by the Suns. What the Gold Coast might lack in terms of a disciplinary structure, the Dockers have in spades with Ross Lyon at the helm. We know this kid has talent and if he can keep his nose clean then he should become the player he has the potential to be. And surely he’d be too scared of Ross Lyon not to. He’s obviously made a handy first impression given Ross Lyon’s quote to media last week.

“I’ve got 99 problems but Harley aint one,” Lyon said in what I can only assume was his best Jay Z impression before dropping the microphone and walking away.

Fremantle Dockers player Harley Bennell speaks at the annual members meeting. Picture: Ben Crabtree The West Australian. 25/11/2015
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