Best of the Dockers
Ahead of Matthew Pavlich breaking Fremantle’s games record, we look at those who have shined in purple.
1. Matthew Pavlich (2000-present; 238 games)
Far and away the best player to have ever donned a Dockers guernsey, Pavlich has won a record five club best and fairests and has finished in the top three nine times. Pavlich is also a six-time All-Australian and has topped the Fremantle goalkicking on seven occasions. Despite being born in South Australia and having ample opportunities to request a trade to the Crows, he has stuck with the Dockers through thick and thin and is finally starting to enjoy the reward of playing finals football.
2. Peter Bell (1995, 2001-08; 163 games)
Aside from Pavlich, Bell is the only Docker to claim multiple best and fairests with Fremantle, winning three in his two stints with the club. Bell won All-Australian selection twice in his career; once while he was playing with North Melbourne and once while he was with Fremantle. The South Korean-born player became skipper of the club in 2002 and the first-ever Fremantle captain to take part in finals one year later. Bell was also the first Fremantle captain to take the side to a finals win when the Dockers beat Melbourne in 2006’s second semi-final.
3. Aaron Sandilands (2003-current; 158 games)
Sandilands is simply the most dominant ruckman in the game and has the potential to become the club’s inaugural Brownlow Medallist; earning 20 votes last year and appearing set for many more in the future. At 211cm, Sandilands monsters ruck contests and has no problems throwing his 122kg frame into marking contests and intimidating the opposition. Sandilands won Fremantle’s best and fairest in 2009 and has been selected in the All-Australian team for each of the last three years.
4. Paul Hasleby (2000-07, 2009-10; 208 games)
While Hasleby never won a best and fairest at Fremantle, he suffered for playing his best football in the Pavlich era. Hasleby was twice runner-up in the B&F count and finished third in 2003, the same year he won All-Australian selection. Importantly for Dockers fans, he always saved his best performances for cross-town rival West Coast. Hasleby won the Ross Glendinning Medal as the best player in a derby on four occasions.
5. Jeff Farmer (2002-08; 131 games)
Despite playing at the club for seven years, Farmer is second only to Pavlich on the club goalkicking list. A controversial figure, he had talent and flair to burn when he was on top of his game. While accolades escaped him at the Dockers – he narrowly missed All-Australian selection in 2006 – he was the club’s second-most productive forward in 2004, 2005 and 2006. While at Fremantle, Farmer became the first indigenous player to kick 400 goals.
6. Shaun McManus (1995-2008; 228 games)
An inaugural squad member, McManus was one of the club’s favourite sons. While not blessed with the talent of some who have played for the Dockers, he always gave 100 per cent. He overcame two knee reconstructions during the course of his career and co-captained the club in 2000 and 2001. After Peter Bell announced his retirement midway through 2008, McManus became the sole surviving member of Fremantle’s first list.