AFL: How Freo created historical past earlier than ball bounced


The oldest group in VFL/AFL historical past gained the flag final 12 months. Can Freo‘s youngsters give them a run for his or her cash in 2023? ELIZA REILLY offers evaluation.

The celebs have aligned for Fremantle.

And the hype surrounding its younger listing is common.

On Sunday in opposition to St Kilda, Fremantle will grow to be the primary AFL group to area three Rising Star Award winners on the identical aspect.

One – Caleb Serong – has been a Docker from the beginning. The star midfielder crashed his means onto the nationwide stage in 2020 and, days after turning 22, was appointed vice-captain of a membership sure for finals. His influence on the taking part in group and want to pull the Dockers to the head has drawn admiration internally and externally.

The opposite two – Jaeger O‘Meara and Luke Jackson – discovered their method to Fremantle in the newest commerce interval.

The Dockers set their sights on Jackson early within the season and didn’t waiver till he was in purple. It was an enormous coup for a membership that has an extended historical past of miss-not-hit recruits.

Fremantle noticed with their very own eyes simply what the previous Demon was able to when he modified the course of the 2021 AFL grand remaining at Optus Stadium. Now, the so-called ‘unicorn’ will wield his legendary abilities in tandem with Sean Darcy.

O’Meara’s journey again dwelling to Western Australia has been barely extra treacherous.

Advised he wasn’t essentially a required participant at a rebuilding Hawthorn, the 29 year-old was given little greater than 48 hours to resolve the place he would finish his profession.

Better Western Sydney made a compelling pitch however O’Meara finally determined, by means of tears, that Fremantle’s chance of finals success was his choice. So, a decade after becoming a member of Gold Coast as an underage star, the Dongara product returned dwelling.

By no means has a aspect boasted three Ron Evans Medallists. Add to that, 4 of the highest 10 picks from the 2019 AFL draft in Jackson, Serong, Hayden Younger and Liam Henry will resist the Saints.

So, is Fremantle’s premiership listing full?

“It’s by no means completed, your listing profile,” soccer boss Peter Bell instructed Channel 7. “We’re actually comfy with the character of the group that we have now nevertheless it’s not completed. I don’t assume it’s ever completed. We’ll definitely have a look at free company, the commerce and the draft.

“I feel as a membership we’re at a stage the place with the setting we’ve created … there are gamers who’re expressing curiosity, and typically that’s simply it and typically they specific curiosity for an entire number of causes.

“However expressing curiosity in significantly transferring to Western Australia and taking part in for Fremantle? That wasn’t the case some time in the past so issues have modified a bit bit.”

It’s price noting that Fremantle has the third most inexperienced listing within the AFL this season. On common, the squad has performed simply 55 video games. The Dockers additionally boast the fourth youngest listing with a median age of simply 24.

Final 12 months’s premiers, Geelong, had been the oldest group in VFL/AFL historical past.

Might Freo’s youngsters give them a run for his or her cash in 2023?

There may be ample purpose to imagine they’ll.

Ethan Hughes and Nathan Wilson had been left behind final 12 months. Final 12 months, we might have stated that Brandon Walker was clearly forward of Wilson and, by design, that might assure the previous a spot. However the veteran hasn’t put a foot mistaken this pre-season and has pressured his means again into the group.

Equally, Hughes performed simply six video games final 12 months however he, too, has been rewarded for his onerous work and suppleness.

Kids Josh Treacy (4 video games) and Henry (seven) additionally danced out and in of the line-up final 12 months because of the squad’s collective health and kind. However Hughes and Wilson have confirmed that there is no such thing as a such factor as a depth participant at Fremantle.

Expertise and potential have lastly collided on the Dockers to the purpose the place it’s inconceivable to foretell a decline.

Serong, O’Meara and Jackson often is the stars however they’re now surrounded by an intricate photo voltaic system.

Eliza Reilly

Eliza Reilly is a Perth-based sportswriter for CODE specialising in AFL, AFLW and netball. Born and raised in Perth, Eliza began her profession as a sports activities cadet on the Gold Coast Bulletin, progressing to deputy sports activities editor. In 2020, she returned dwelling to affix The West Australian the place she bought the prospect to cowl an AFL grand remaining in her dwelling state. Eliza has additionally been recognised for her journalism, together with profitable a Clarion Award and a number of WA Soccer Media Guild awards together with the Tracey Lewis Rising Expertise Award in her first 12 months at The West.



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