Freo must cull the dead wood at season’s end
Fremantle has had a season from hell on the injury front and I am prepared to give many players another chance next season.
After all, West Coast was in a similar predicament last season and look at the turnaround when it got its best players fit.
But that should not mask the fact that many Fremantle players have not been able to improve or have an impact in 2011.
In Friday’s night big loss to Collingwood, there was a heap of possession. It should have suited Byron Schammer, despite the fact he was playing in his first AFL game of the season.
He struggled to find the football.
I felt sorry for a player who obviously had his card crossed at the start of the season.
Let’s face it, he would not have played if Fremantle had not suffered a spate of injuries to key players.
Rhys Palmer continued to turn the ball over and make poor decisions. He has not been given any confidence by the coaching staff.
Paul Duffield is another with the same problem. He’s a confidence player who thrived under the presence of assistant coach Chris Scott, who is now in charge at Geelong. Duffield just does not look happy on the field.
Ryan Crowley was exposed for pace and skill by Leon Davis. He must have been thankful when the fleet-footed Pie was subbed out.
Crowley has shown plenty of guts over his career but unfortunately he is not going to take Fremantle to where it wants to go.
Collingwood had nine players with 56 or fewer games experience playing on Friday night. They include Ben Reid, Steele Sidebottom, Dayne Beams, Jarryd Blair, Alex Fasolo, Tom Young, Ben Sinclair, Chris Dawes and Cameron Wood.
Fremantle had 11 players in the same bracket: Nathan Fyfe, Tendai Mzungu, Zac Clarke, Chris Mayne, Greg Broughton, Nick Suban, Clancee Pearce, Clayton Hinkley, Michael Barlow, Peter Faulks and Palmer.
Of these players, how many are Fremantle’s future stars?
Fyfe has taken a giant leap, Clarke has finished the season well, Broughton has been swung into the midfield and shows he can play a role in there and Barlow just knows how to read the play.
Mzungu is finding his feet after injury interruptions, while Mayne, Palmer, Hinkley, Pearce and Suban have been disappointing.
There are senior players I would trade tomorrow. Adam McPhee and Michael Johnson are the main two who have been given games when they should not have.
If that is all that they can dish up, then trade them. They would not be missed.
Kepler Bradley started the season very well. At one stage he was the Dockers’ leading goalscorer, but as the season wore on he has looked slow and out of touch.
You notice deficiencies more against the good sides. In the past month or so, Fremantle has played the benchmark teams.
Roger Hayden has become unreliable as he keeps on breaking down. With Matthew Pavlich, Antoni Grover, Luke McPharlin and Aaron Sandilands entering their 30s next season, I am not sure the Dockers’ list managers will want to keep them all.
Are Dylan Roberton, Jay van Berlo, Justin Bollenhagen and Ben Bucovaz or Jesse Crichton going to take Fremantle to Collingwood’s level in the near future? No.
Fremantle management would have to be asking themselves whether the assistant coaches to Mark Harvey delivered the goods this season, their was a dramatic change has it been good for the players?
By getting rid of the underperforming players is not going to fix Fremantle’s issues, those that are pressing the players buttons need to have a long hard look at themselves.