2022 AFL Draft Preview: Fremantle
WITH season proper and trade period done and dusted, AFL fans and staff alike now turn their attention towards the draft (November 28-30). The chaos has settled on player and pick swaps, and budding prospects have completed their combines, leaving a nervous wait until they learn their fate.
In the next of our club by club previews, we take a look at Fremantle’s draft hand and offer insight into how the Dockers may utilise the picks at their possession. Their first selection sits in round two and with multiple NGA prospects to consider, it looms as an interesting period for the West Australian club.
2022 FINISH: 6th
CURRENT PICKS: 30, 43, 44, 65, 70, 77
FUTURE PICKS: NM R2, NM R3, CAR R3, NM R4
ACADEMY/FATHER-SON NOMINEES: Josh Draper, Jasper Scaife, Conrad Williams
FIRST PICK OPTIONS:
The Dockers have made it clear that they are happy head into the draft with pick 30 as their first selection, and will go with the best available talent. What exactly their draft board looks like is less clear, though there should be some viable options around that range.
Some second round sliders may be up for grabs in the early-30s, and West Australian pocket rocket Darcy Jones would be hard to look past if available. The 174cm midfielder can play various roles, but would also account for some outside run the Dockers have lost.
North Adelaide ruck-forward Isaac Keeler is another prospect who may fill a list chasm, though his range is one which varies from club to club. Regardless, he is one of the most naturally talented players in this year’s crop and would likely fit the best available tag should he slide through.
Midfielder-forward Coby Burgiel is another who could get through the 20s but shouldn’t last too long if that’s the case. Then there’s a couple more local choices in Sam Gilbey and Jed Hagan. The former is a running half-back whose year was scuppered by injury, while the latter is a small utility who played a strong amount of senior WAFL footy.
Having targeted the highest player on their draft board with their opening pick, the Dockers will look to address key list needs thereafter. Even after a busy trade period which yielded Luke Jackson, Jaeger O’Meara, and Josh Corbett, Fremantle has lost some handy stock, and can package up long-term cover with consecutive third round picks.
The main areas to bolster lie in the key position realm, with a tall defender and developing ruck likely atop Freo’s wish list. Local talents Jed Adams and Hugh Davies have been linked as a solution to that defensive hole, and athletic Tasmanian Tom McCallum may be a versatile option to consider, or perhaps James Van Es remains on the board.
Rucks may be more readily available late in the piece, and another Peel Thunder product in Jackson Broadbent may pique the Dockers’ interest. Elsewhere, the likes of Will Verrall and Hudson O’Keeffe produced strong seasons interstate and have some nice traits to develop over time.
Of course, the Dockers also have a trio of NGA prospects on the table and have the stock to match any potential late bids. Josh Draper is a free hit key position utility the Dockers would likely have considered without the tie, while outside runner Conrad Williams has attracted interest from other clubs and key forward Jasper Scaife is also in contention.
Either way, Freo will list two of its nominated NGAs either through the National or Rookie drafts, or even as Category B rookies. The Dockers will use four picks in the National intake and at least one in the Rookie Draft, with one more spot available to use as they see fit.
– Can Fremantle cover its primary list needs late in the draft?
– Will Fremantle be made to match a bid for one of its NGA talents?
– Which two NGA products will Fremantle opt for?