What I Love About My Team in 2023 – Fremantle

Like many of us, my beloved football team, the Dockers, provides me with all the fulfilment of a relationship of constant hope followed by being let down.

It’s almost a love-hate relationship, and the 25-year membership scarf they sent me a few days ago was almost as depressing as it was a nice token of accomplishment packaged in a now very empty, and perfectly metaphorical box. Yet, like many of us football fans, I keep coming back because every year offers the chance of something new, something exciting, something to put in that very empty box.

However, season 2022 allowed us Fremantle supporters to take a breath of fresh air and there’s a sense that 2023 might offer even purer air: stability to this shamble of a roller coaster ride



The year 2023 for Fremantle is probably being met with the highest level of optimism the club has ever seen. Even through their years of relative success, there’s always been optimism around the supporters combined with undertones of fear that it might not work as planned. And we have got the history to do this:

1995 they exceeded expectations but went backwards in 1996.

1997 they’re a solitary win off making finals, which they actually don’t manage until 2003.

2004 they’re out again, but 2006 it’s the top 4, followed by several seasons out of the top eight.

They’re hot, they’re cold, and they’re hot again.

From 2013-2015 there’s a run of success but injuries, ageing players, and an inability to beat the best teams have always cast that shadow of doubt.

But this year, there’s a sense that this shadow is reduced somewhat. Justin Longmuir has proven to be a dynamic coach – a breath of fresh air amongst the players and supporters. The team plays an attractive brand and has both the quality and pace in their list to produce it relatively successfully; there’s no Hawthorn dominating every week, and Fremantle have managed to beat most (or all) of last year’s top eight teams in their previous couple of seasons (don’t quote me on that).



I’ve liked Nat Fyfe as captain. He gets a bad rap as being selfish, but I don’t think he’s ever done anything other than lead from the front and know his own worth, which is something often misunderstood as arrogance.

Hwever, with injuries mounting and a 2022 season ruined by the fact he never really had a spot in the side – the plan of using Will Brodie until Fyfe was fit again was a very positive failure. Now, without Mundy gone and a full pre-season of fitness, Freo have used the time to plan how to use the club legend properly. Fyfe will be prepped for a big turnaround in form. Still, the more optimistic element is that the Dockers no longer rely on their few stars to win them games. There have been reports of him stepping aside as captain, and I think that would be a good way to reinvigorate him as well.



Freo’s youth were much of the talking point of the 2022 season. Brayshaw, Serong, Frederick, Young and Darcy all hit the highlight reels and talk shows on regular occasions. Coming into 2023, Freo’s youth are getting closer to the 100-150 ‘goldy locks’ zone of having enough size, ability and experience to be consistently competitive, but remain young enough to be quick, exciting, get better, and be a little more injury-resistant.



Where they may be a little too young heading into 2023 is their key forwards: Taberner struggles to run out a season, and other than that, they’ve not any fully developed key position players up there. However, for the first time in the club’s history, there’s a sense of optimism and excitement about this forward line. Luke Jackson will slot in nicely as a resting ruck/ third tall option, but with more mobility than Lobb.

On top of that, Jye Amiss looks very much the natural leading forward that the Dockers have been chasing since Pav, Treacy is getting better as an option, and the acquisition of Corbett will only add to their depth. Freo’s forward line has almost moved almost instantly from its patched-together, stagnant front 50 relying on its smalls to becoming dynamic, fast and thoughtfully structured so that the impressive smalls complement (potentially) dominant talls. Of course, Amiss, Corbett, and Treacy are still developing their craft, but 2023 gives them plenty of opportunity to stamp their authority as the future of the club.



I’m under no illusions that the Dockers will win the flag this year, and I think any long-term predictions or absolutes this early in the season are silly at the best of times. But I’ve got this sense that Fremantle have turned the corner the last few years, and I haven’t had that since their clean out pre-2009, which turned into a handful of good seasons.

The difference is, the quality of people and players they’ve got this time around is much better than they had in the early 2010s. Simply put: it’s a better list with a clearer structure and strategy. They’ve got rid of some dead wood and the players have bought into the club and its vision. There is a sense that this is their chance of being part of football history.

2023 is a good chance to break the cycle of one step forward, two steps back, and really build towards consistent top 4 finishes.

And above all else, hopefully, a first flag.


Massive Mongrel “Big Questions” Season Preview for Freo going live THIS WEEKEND. Jump on the link below for complete access, or just get the first five (of between 15-20 questions) as a freebie – your choice.


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