We’re only three games in… but is this the year that Freo fans can finally dream of Flagmantle?


It may only be early in the season but there is already reason for Fremantle fans to get excited after the impressive start their team has shown, vindicating the decision of the club to extend coach Justin Longmuir’s contract.

The Dockers’ 3-0 start to the season has shown resilience such as being able to overcome poor first starts against Brisbane and North Melbourne.

The men in purple also had the professionalism, while not quite being at their best, to still able to record a 35-point win against a fellow finals hopeful in Adelaide.

Of course, this season comes straight after a disappointing 2023 where the Dockers slumped to 14th after being able to win a final in 2022.

However, perhaps last season was the one step back this team needed for them to take multiple steps forward in 2024.

The Dockers talent of Andrew Brayshaw, Caleb Serong and Hayden Young, who were impressive but still just developing a few years ago, now look absolutely primed to take the competition by storm and lead their team to the pointy end of September.

Much of the criticism and pressure that was placed on Longmuir last year was the dour style of play which saw the team simply unable to kick a winning score.

Last year, the Dockers were 15th in the league for shots at goal, representing an inability for Freo to bypass opposition defences to generate enough scoring opportunities.

However, in the early parts of this season, the club now ranks in the top eight in both key metrics and has showcased a much more attacking flair in their gameplay, making for much better viewing for fans whilst also producing results.

This was best seen in their Round 1 encounter against last year’s runners-up the Lions where young key forwards Jye Amiss and Josh Treacy kicked seven goals between them.

9⃣ goals in 9⃣0⃣ seconds.#foreverfreo pic.twitter.com/yof1wfFmlq

— Fremantle Dockers (@freodockers) March 30, 2024

Adding to that, the duo were ably supported by small forwards Michael Frederick, Sam Switkowski and Michael Walters who each kicked a goal and had 14 score involvements between them, as they took care of a side that came within a goal of a premiership.

That Round 1 performance is a great example of what this forward line can produce with quick and precise ball movement which we can expect to see more of in 2024.

However, we must not forget that premierships are built on defence and Fremantle is currently ranked the number one defence so far in 2024, conceding only 60 points on average per game.

In an otherwise dour and at times difficult game to watch against Adelaide, the Dockers’ whole team defence was outstanding.

They restricted the Crows, the team that scored the most points in the 2023 home and away season, to merely four goals and just one goal after halftime.

This is despite the Dockers missing key personnel down back in Heath Chapman, Brennan Cox, and Oscar McDonald.

F-R-3-0 ! ????

The Fremantle Dockers have started their season 3-0 for the first time since 2015, and just the third time in the club’s history.

51,037 fans turned up for the biggest crowd by any Fremantle home game outside of a Western Derby. ????

The Crows meanwhile fall to… pic.twitter.com/MTl3pWVb5z

— ABC SPORT (@abcsport) March 29, 2024

The leaders of this defence Alex Pearce and Luke Ryan were remarkable. Pearce particularly had a field day, recording five intercept marks, and putting his early bid for an All-Australian jacket.

Coach Longmuir stressed the importance of maintaining this impregnable defence, saying post-match that the team must ‘embrace the boredom and monotony of the season’ in upholding its defensive application.

Whilst he has come under fire for his defensive-minded game plan, you can’t deny that the Dockers’ defence will be the key if they are to go deep into September.

This combination of a miserly defence with a growing suite of attacking weapons places the Dockers beautifully to potentially make a tilt at the top four.

However, between their three opponents in 2024, neither of them has registered a win raising doubt as to the quality of what the Dockers have faced so far.

As such, the big test and proper evidence of Fremantle’s credentials will be uncovered in Gather Round for a blockbuster clash against fellow contenders Carlton who are also 3-0.

If the Dockers can maintain this stellar form against very good opposition, they won’t just put themselves in top-four contention, but the purple army can get increasingly excited over what this club could potentially achieve in September.

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