Freo announced themselves as an unstoppable force representing the west coast this year and seemed determined to bring home the club's first ever premiership cup. Hopefully the tragically short 2020 season will spur them on to play with the same power next year.
2019 finish: 2nd (Conference A)
2020 finish: 1st (Conference B)
In a Nutshell
The Fremantle Dockers of the Michelle Cowan era – uncertain, limited and incapable of bringing a game plan across four quarters – are gone. Long gone.
In two seasons under Trent Cooper, Fremantle has become quite possibly the best side in AFLW. Certainly, the Dockers are the most exciting side to watch.
Fremantle went unbeaten across seven matches in 2020 and had just staked their claim as clear premiership favourites with a 70-point scorching of Gold Coast in the semi-final when the season was cut short.
The loss of Dana Hooker and Parris Laurie somehow did not hinder Fremantle’s midfield. Kiara Bowers played a truly remarkable season with a record breaking 99 tackles in seven matches to help Fremantle average a staggering nine more tackles than any other side. Also filling the vacancy were Ebony Antonio, Hayley Miller and Kara Antonio.
When the Dockers got the ball forward, magic happened. 20-year old Sabreena Duffy had match-winning four-goal performances against Geelong and Brisbane and is among a handful of players who can swing a match with five touches. Her sidekick was Ash Sharp, who played as a midfielder as well as a secondary small forward option and filched seven goals including two in the blockbuster against Brisbane.
Roxy Roux also announced herself as a powerful, straight-shooting forward of the present and future with a two-goal, four-mark cameo as the Dockers claimed bragging rights in the first Derby over West Coast. Gemma Houghton turned her 2019 breakout year into her standard with a league-high 34 score involvements.
It would be remiss to not praise Fremantle’s backline. Second-season defenders like Laura Pugh, Katie-Jayne Grieve and Angelique Stannett halved contests and denied their opponents space to run into and gather the ball. Their finest hour was the Round 3 feat of endurance against Collingwood when the Dockers conceded 34 Inside 50s but conceded just four goals to keep their unbeaten streak alive.
Why change anything? Fremantle is ready to jam its premiership window open. It has talent across the board, one of the competition’s best coaches, a nigh-on uncontainable offensive style and plenty of young guns who are ready to set the world on fire. How special would it be if the first piece of silverware in the club’s trophy cabinet was an AFL Women’s premiership cup?