Numbers rise behind Fremantle Dockers, Sleeping giant in premiership race, Stats, Analysis, Leigh Montagna on AFL 360, Attack, Midfield, Defense, Latest News

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Is Fremantle the sleeping giant in this year’s premiership race?

“Surprising” figures have revealed that the Dockers are “in very good form” and “might be ready to let the competition know where they sit”, as Saints legend Leigh Montagna put it on Fox Footy’s. AFL 360.

It comes before the decisive month for the 5-3 Dockers, where they face Sydney (Optus Stadium), St Kilda (Marvel Stadium), Collingwood (Optus Stadium) and Melbourne (TIO Traeger Park).

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The numbers don’t lie as Fremantle’s profile is among the league’s elite and sees the club looking more like they did in the 2022 semi-finals after slipping to fourteenth last year.

And after eight games this season, it’s now a substantial sample size.

Starting in defense, the Dockers were “elite and back to their 2022 numbers” – they ranked second in the league in points against, third in inside 50s against, fourth in opposition score per inside 50 and third in points against from turnovers .

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – MAY 05: Nat Fyfe of the Dockers celebrates with fans during the 2024 AFL Round 08 match between the Richmond Tigers and the Fremantle Dockers at The Melbourne Cricket Ground on May 5, 2024 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)Source: FOX SPORTS

We know how important a strong defensive backbone is for parties with legitimate aspirations to be prime minister in September.

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Montagna emphasized that fifteen of the last nineteen prime ministers have been in the top six in both 1950s And The opposition scores per inside 50, while 14 of the last twenty Premiers have finished in the top three for points against turnovers.

“Right now they would have three (defenders) in the All-Australian squad: Alex Pearce and Luke Ryan, absolutely. And Jordan Clark is having a fantastic year,” he further said AFL 360.

Led by Caleb Serong’s superstar rise, Fremantle’s midfield has also been “one of their biggest strengths”.

They rank first in the AFL in clearance differential, fifth in points based on clearance differential, sixth in contested possession differential and third in points against turnovers.

“We know how elite their midfield players are,” Montagna added.

“Caleb Serong is the sixth highest rated player in the game, Hayden Young is now a top 25 midfielder. Sean Darcy is back as a top five ruckman in the competition.”

The one area that has let the Dockers down in recent years is their forward line and their inability to score, but there is reason for optimism that it is developing in the right direction.

Although Freo ranks just 10th in points for and 15th in inside 50s, it ranks fourth in score per inside 50 percentage.

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“If they get the ball inside the fifties they have scored, their problem only generates more inside the fifties,” Montagna noted.

It included Josh Treacy scoring a career-best four goals against Richmond last weekend, announcing himself as a key cornerstone of that forward line alongside Jye Amiss.

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Montagna pointed out that Longmuir’s side improved from 44 in the 50s to 55 last week, while ranking third in scoring (100 per game) over the past two weeks by playing at a faster pace.

“This is what they have adjusted in their ball movement, which has given them the opportunity to get more entries to score – this long kick down the line,” the double All-Australian added.

“For the first six weeks Fremantle were the worst team in the league at winning their own game. They have been sixth for the last two weeks.

“It gives speed to the ball so suddenly you don’t look slow. It gives you great looks and great chances of getting to 50.

“Their handball numbers have doubled in the last two weeks compared to what they did in the first six weeks of the season. It is a huge reason why you are significantly more within fifty: that one handball breaks through a line and team defense.

“If they can add this ball movement to what they are already doing on a match-to-play and defensive level, we can find out a lot more about Fremantle next month and they can be put in the same basket as five or six of these other (top) teams where we are talking about.”

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