Fremantle Dockers place hope on 2012 draft to boost talls
Fremantle will replenish its limited stocks of key position players in next year’s looming super draft after taking a calculated gamble by overlooking talls in Thursday’s national draft.
The Dockers believe the move of skipper Matthew Pavlich to full-forward and the expected arrival of former St Kilda backman Zac Dawson through next month’s pre-season draft will ensure there is enough cover at both ends of the ground for 2012.
The club will then launch a raid on young key-position talent in next year’s national draft, which recruiters already believe will be the strongest of the past decade.
It will also be the first undiluted national draft in three years, with the entry concessions granted to Gold Coast and Greater Western Sydney heavily compromising the past two player ballots.
Coach Ross Lyon conceded the Dockers needed to add key-position depth at both ends but said it could wait one more year.
“There’s some need on the list but we didn’t want to pull the talls earlier than the talent,” he said.
“We just think that the list is in good enough shape that for the sake of a year and an undiluted draft with all the talls that there will be a window there to take them.”
Veteran full-back Antoni Grover will be 32 in March and it could be his final season. Fellow key defender Luke McPharlin turns 30 on Thursday.
McPharlin enjoyed career-best form in 2011 but is also entering his twilight.
There is also a lack of depth in the forward line.
Former Collingwood forward Jack Anthony was taken in last year’s pre-season draft as a quick fix but played just four games in his first season in purple.
Pavlich was used almost entirely in the midfield in some games by former coach Mark Harvey last season, but Lyon confirmed he would be used predominantly as a power forward next year.
The six-time Doig medallist, who turns 30 next month, kicked just 21 goals last season down from 61 in 2010, when he played more forward.
“The numbers tell us we missed his strike power in the forward 50,” Lyon said.
Fremantle took five running players in the national draft, with Victorian duo Tom Sheridan (185cm) and Hayden Crozier (185cm) joined by South Australian trio Alex Forster (189cm), Lachie Neale (177cm) and Cam Sutcliffe (187cm).