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Fremantle’s Australian Football League fall from grace last season was explicable yet bookmakers are offering generous odds about the Dockers bouncing back next term.
Paddy Power is enabling punters to secure value odds about Fremantle finishing the Australian Football League regular season in the top eight and reaching the Finals Series, a feat that the Dockers had accomplished in each of their first four campaigns under Ross Lyon. One does not believe that Fremantle’s Australian Football League premiership window has shut or that Lyon has become a bad coach.
Lyon linked up with Fremantle from St Kilda after the 2011 Australian Football League season. Lyon coached St Kilda for five Australian Football League campaigns and the Saints made the top eight four times, including being the Grand Final loser in back-to-back seasons. So Lyon’s teams have qualified for the Australian Football League Finals eight times out of 10 years since he quit being one of Sydney’s assistant coaches under his close friend, Paul Roos.
Fremantle finished seventh, third and fourth in its first three Australian Football League seasons under Lyon before the Dockers took out the minor premiership in 2015 with a 17-5 record. With four rounds of the Australian Football League regular season to go, Fremantle boasted numbers of 16-2 but the Dockers took their foot off the gas, including fielding a second-string side in the last match versus Port Adelaide in South Australia that had zero meaning.
Most Australian Football League analysts were of the view that Fremantle would challenge for the 2016 premiership but the Dockers endured an awful campaign, losing each of their first 10 games and registering just four victories in their 22 matches. But Fremantle had excuses and lots of them.
Fremantle midfielder Nat Fyfe won the 2015 Australian Football League Brownlow Medal for the competition’s best and fairest player but he broke his left leg for the second time in two years when the Dockers lost by four points at home to Carlton in the fifth round. Several key Fremantle players missed significant portions of the Australian Football League season, including massive ruckman Aaron Sandilands and star recruit Harley Bennell. Lyon tried to implement a new playing style and that, combined with a series of serious injuries, resulted in Fremantle having an Australian Football League year from hell. The only way is up for Fremantle and one would not be surprised if the Dockers made the Australian Football League top eight.
One Australian punter has bet $20,000 on Fremantle winning its first-ever Australian Football League premiership at odds of +5000 . One can see his logic – Fremantle should have Fyfe, Sandilands, Bennell and Michael Johnson fit in 2017, plus the Dockers have recruited Bradley Hill from Hawthorn and Cam McCarthy from Greater Western Sydney. Hill joins his brother, Stephen, on Fremantle’s roster, while McCarthy has signed for the Dockers after not featuring for Greater Western Sydney last term. McCarthy experienced homesickness but now that he is back in Western Australia one is hopeful that the high draft pick will reproduce the form that he showed in 2015 when he booted 35 goals in 20 Australian Football League matches for Greater Western Sydney.
According to Paddy Power, Fremantle is the 13th most likely side to qualify for the Australian Football League Finals next season. One rates Fremantle as the eighth most likely Australian Football League Finals qualifier and, therefore, the Ireland-based bookmaker’s odds of +175 are too big to ignore. One thinks that Fremantle should be closer to +100 .
Freemantle to Finish in the AFL Top Eight
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