Fremantle assistant Peter Sumich says the Dockers are a sleeping giant, needing on-field success to explode into one of the more powerful outfits in the AFL.

Sumich, the dual West Coast premiership player and long-time lieutenant of coach John Worsfold before he left the Eagles to join the Dockers for the 2012 season, said the Dockers required a “trophy in the cabinet” for the club to achieve its potential.

In an exclusive interview with The Weekend West ahead of today’s western derby Sumich also revealed:

– That the opportunity to work with Dockers coach Ross Lyon had been a key to his leaving the Eagles

– He had long held an ambition to work for the Dockers because of the link to his beloved home town

– That the Dockers were confident heading into today’s match, believing they were better prepared and balanced than they had been before round nine when the Eagles blew them away

– That he believed his old club West Coast were playing “braver” football by attacking more in 2012

“The club is what I thought it would be,” Sumich said of the Dockers. “The only thing this club lacks is a trophy in the cabinet. We all know that. That is what we are building towards. Hopefully we can keep going forward. Once that happens I think you might see things change again slightly.”

Sumich said on-field success would change Fremantle’s perception of itself and outside perceptions of the club. The Dockers had significant potential to grow if and when that success came.

“I reckon it is significant,” he said of a premiership’s potential to change a club. “That is what you play for. Once this club does get something in the cabinet it will change the club and the perception, probably even outside of what people think about Fremantle.

“Everyone talks about Richmond and these sleeping-giant clubs. Fremantle has got a fair few supporters and a big base. I know that for a fact, being around Fremantle.

“They talk about those teams being sleeping giants, I think Fremantle is not far behind them.”

Sumich said he had noticed subtle game plan changes at the Eagles in the wake of his departure.

“I reckon they are playing braver footy,” he said.

“More willing to attack. I know the game plan there over the last couple of years and what the club wanted to achieve with the game plan and get things going.

“I think they have done that and that is why they are looking beyond and improving and they are looking at other sides and seeing how they are improving and looking more at attacking.”

He said the changes Lyon had implemented at Fremantle were gaining momentum and the Dockers now took a strong belief into every game.

“The players are (confident) and we are too now,” he said. “We can see the structures, what Ross has put in place and what he is trying to achieve and improve.

“We feel like we can go in and win most games.”

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