Just how historic is the Dockers’ fall this season? Some indications
· Fremantle’s has -16 ranking points compared with +22 ranking points at Round 10 last season. That is a decline of six goals per game.
· As Matt Cowgill has shown over at The Arc no minor premier had previously lost their first six matches of the next season, let alone their first ten.
· To avoid the biggest fall since the introduction of the top eight (based on home and away season positons) the Dockers would have to finish higher than 13th. They are currently 18th.
However Fremantle had a few close wins last season. If you focus instead on Fremantle’s percentage the fall is not as unprecedented as the fall in ladder position suggests. The Dockers’ percentage is currently 68.2, compared with 118.4 at the end of last season. That’s no worse than, say, Carlton’s in 2002 (128.6 in 2001 to 73. 1 although the Blues’ drop was considered pretty hefty at the time. Furthermore the drop-off from mid-2015 for Freo has been worse – as of Round 10 last year the Dockers’ percentage was 139.8. As I’ve said before here Fremantle’s fall really started in the middle of last year, even though they kept top spot on the ladder.
Any way you look it’s a big drop. Last season Fremantle had six players that averaged over 90 SuperCoach points per game. This season, as of Round 10, they have two. Aaron Sandilands has barely played, Nat Fyfe is now out for the season and was out of form even before that, and David Mundy, Michael Barlow, and Matthew Pavlich have had major declines. Fyfe’s injury aside a main answer for the Dockers’ loss of form may well just be that they are too old now.