AFLW Season 7 Glass Half Full/Empty: Fremantle

IN a new approach to the AFL Women’s end of season reviews, Rookie Me Central casts both a glass half full and half empty lens over each side’s campaigns.

Next up in the series is Fremantle, who endured a frustrating Season 7 with untimely injuries to key players, and the eventual departure of coach Trent Cooper.


Emergence of Tighe

One player who produced a breakout season for Fremantle this year was Aine Tighe.

The Irishwoman really emerged as a star forward option for the Dockers, and no performance exemplified that more than her four-goal final round outing against Hawthorn.

The only way is up for Tighe as she looks to build on her efforts this season.

Staying competitive

Despite not getting the wins on the board, Fremantle was largely competitive in many other games it ultimately went on to lose, or draw.

For example, the Dockers pushed both Adelaide and Melbourne in their respective home-and-away clashes, and the Crows and Dees are now preliminary finalists.

Strong bounce back potential

There is a strong potential for this team to bounce back quickly in 2023. If all those stars stay injury free heading into 2023, there is no reason to suggest Fremantle will not be back up the top next season.

Bowers still performing

Despite other senior players going down injured around her, Kiara Bowers was able to keep fit and keep performing at her usual standard, which is a huge positive for Fremantle to take out of this season.

She may be 31, but is still performing like she is much younger than that, getting her hands dirty with a new tackling records while maintaining her ball winning output.


Shocking injury run

Fremantle had one of the worst runs with injury this season, and so a lot of what went wrong for the team this year can be put down to that.

When you lose both Kara and Ebony Antonio before the season for what was ultimately much of the season, plus the likes of Janelle Cuthbertson, Gabby O’Sullivan and even Hayley Miller under injury clouds at different points throughout the campaign, the going was always going to be tough for the Dockers.

Antonio retiring

One huge hole the Dockers are going to have to fill next season is the one Kara Antonio leaves, after she retired at the end of Season 7.

Although she only got out on the park once in Season 7, she provides so much leadership and experience that the Dockers are going to seriously miss heading into 2023.

The sacking of Trent Cooper

Last week the Dockers came out with a move that shocked many in the footballing world when they sacked coach Trent Cooper.

Perhaps a hasty decision based purely on results this season, it seems a harsh one given the context of Fremantle’s year, and the heights Cooper had led his side to previously.

Time passed them by?

Fremantle has been one of the top teams for a long time, and probably should have won the flag in 2020 if the season had been allowed to fully conclude.

However, since then the Dockers have not quite reached those heights again, so the question has to be asked, has time passed them, by? Their top tier stars are not getting any younger, so will they reach that level again?

Value of early picks?

Finishing so low on the ladder means Fremantle obtains an early draft pick, but what is the value of that selection this year? West Coast finished below the Dockers, and will get first dibs at the West Australian pool, but with no juniors on offer ahead of 2023 the value of the pick is not what it would have been in previous years.


Injuries really hurt the Dockers this year.

From the get-go, everyone knew it was going to be a hard year for the Dockers with the number of casualties they had, so the way the season eventuated is not a true indication of where the team is at.

Antonio’s retirement is going to be a huge loss and Cooper’s sacking was perhaps preemptive, but there is a huge chance the Dockers will rebound in 2023.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments