2022 AFL Draft Review: Fremantle
FREMANTLE took a path less travelled by throughout the 2022 AFL Draft, venturing down the mature-age route more than most clubs, but still managing to cover a couple of key list needs. We recap and review the Dockers’ haul, analysing who they brought in and what they may offer at the next level.
#33 Hugh Davies (Key Defender, Claremont/Western Australia)
#41 Tom Emmett (Medium Forward, Sturt/South Australia)
#42 Max Knobel (Ruck, Gippsland Power/Vic Country)
#57 Corey Wagner (Defender/Wing, Port Melbourne/Victoria)
NGA: Josh Draper (Key Position Utility, Peel Thunder/Western Australia)
NGA: Conrad Williams (Defender/Wing, Claremont/Western Australia)
INT: Ultan Kelm (Ireland)
#13 Liam Reidy (Ruck/Forward, Frankston VFL/Victoria)
Dockers staff and fans alike watched on during night one, with their first pick coming the following evening at number 33. Local talent was in the offing, and having identified tall defensive depth as a need, Fremantle went with Claremont backman Hugh Davies. A 196cm stopper who intercepts well, Davies is also confident in possession and matched up on some of this year’s top key forwards.
Fremantle then made use of consecutive picks in the 40s, and made the first of its mature-age selections with Tom Emmett. The powerful South Australian forward established himself at League level with Sturt this year and finished the season with a flurry, staking his draft claims. He will perhaps take some pressure off Freo’s tall forwards given his frame and marking prowess.
Then came Max Knobel, the son of former Brisbane, St Kilda and Richmond ruck, Trent. At 206cm and growing, the Gippsland Power graduate is the long-term ruck choice Fremantle was after. He may not yet be the finished product but has great scope for improvement, and will help boost his new side’s tall stocks for years to come.
The Dockers’ last contribution to the National Draft came via the selection of Corey Wagner. This will be his third shot at the elite level, having previously been on a Roo and Dee. His form as a running defender/wingman for Port Melbourne proved enticing, and he was joined by fellow VFL product Liam Reidy through the rookie draft. The latter is a 22-year-old ruck-forward in the readymade category.
Having committed to placing two Next Generation Academy graduates to its Category B list, the Dockers opted for athletic tall utility Josh Draper and speedy half-back/wingman Conrad Williams. Both long-term prospects, they are prospective additions with high upside who could prove high value selections down the track.
Though, with an overall approach which outlines the kind of window Fremantle sees itself in, the Dockers have a nice blend of readymade and long-term replenishments. They’ll likely look to push for top four contention next season and stay there.