Bookmakers draw line on Fremantle’s finals hopes
Bookmakers have written off Fremantle’s chances of making this year’s final eight, believing the Dockers will crash and burn as they confront a difficult run home.
Despite Fremantle sitting in sixth spot with a healthy 8-6 win-loss record before Round 16, the Dockers are paying as much as $4 to make the finals.
Sportingbet has Fremantle at $4, Centrebet has it at $3.50 and Player is offering $3.30.
Sydney, St Kilda, Melbourne, Essendon, the Western Bulldogs and North Melbourne all trailed the Dockers on the ladder coming into this weekend but are all rated a better chance than Fremantle of making the finals.
The Dockers are at a short $1.24 on Player to miss the final eight.
Player manager Ben Pomatti admitted the situation was unusual, but said the tough run of games ahead and the club’s injury woes meant Fremantle faced an uphill battle.
“It’s very unusual. Usually if a team’s in sixth spot you wouldn’t expect them to be in black odds to make the eight,” Pomatti said.
“Certainly the opinion is at the moment that it does look very difficult for them. When you’re getting down to x-amount of weeks left the draw becomes absolutely critical. Given the injuries are still prevalent for them and they probably don’t have the easiest run home, our book managers have certainly been of the opinion that it will be tough for them to finish the season in the eight.”
The Dockers have never made the finals in consecutive seasons, with their three September appearances coming in 2003, 2006 and last year.
They only have to win their remaining home games to be guaranteed of making the eight, but their last four matches at Patersons Stadium all look tough.
Fremantle faces West Coast in the derby in Round 18, before hosting Hawthorn (Round 19), Carlton (Round 21) and Collingwood (Round 23).
This week, coach Mark Harvey predicted 11 wins could be enough to make the final eight a figure that has haunted the Dockers in the past.
In 2005, 11 wins was only enough for 10th spot for the Dockers, who would have finished seventh if they had beaten Port Adelaide in the final regular-season game but lost by 45 points.
In 2004 Fremantle had racked up 11 wins by Round 18 and seemed set to cruise into the finals before losing its final four games of the season, including a Round 22 loss to St Kilda, to fall to ninth.