Dockers new recruits now in sync with game plan
On the back of a 5th-placed finish and an elimination final win last year, the Dockers started this season slowly, but have won their last four games to improve their record to 6-5 as they head into their mid season bye.
Fremantle had a busy summer on the recruiting front with Luke Jackson and Jaeger O’Meara arriving as David Mundy retired and Blake Acres, Rory Lobb, Griffin Logue, Lloyd Meek headed for new clubs, with Bell saying he never lost faith in the club’s list strategy.
“Each of those departures were obviously for different reasons but quite a bit of experience did leave,” he said.
“Perhaps we didn’t think about or we underestimated the period of time that it would take those new players would take to get the synchronicity with the gameplan and their new teammates, that wasn’t something that we had front of mind.
“The past month has been excellent, [O’Meara and Jackson] in particular have also been excellent and we’re looking forward to a really big second half of the year from those two and their teammates.”
Bell told Sports Breakfast “a lot of hard work” had helped the club get their campaign back on track.
“There’s obviously a lot of [outside noise], but we had to stick with what we thought was going to give us the best chance to be competitive,” he said.
“We’ve tweaked a few things, but most importantly is that we’ve executed a lot better. There’s certain elements of our game that we’re doing better and that’s allowing us to look more threatening, to get a better connection between our midfield and our forwards and also defend more strongly.
“We just continue to work hard and not be distracted by everything that’s being said and spoken about externally.”
Bell has remained in Melbourne following last Saturday’s win over Melbourne with the mid-season draft taking place tomorrow, saying that both local and interstate players were being considered for the club’s sole selection.
“We had a couple of train-ons through the preseason period and it was a really tough call but ultimately we just decided to leave the spot open to give us some flexibility through the year,” Bell said.
“It’s not a short-term measure for us. We’re looking to add some quality to our list and if we think there’s someone there who, with the right opportunity and the right commitment and work rate, can make an impact at AFL level, then we’ll select that person.
“It’s a really careful decision because it is difficult to come into a new team midway through a season, particularly if you’re coming from interstate … which is a really big challenge for anyone given the way AFL football is these days.”
The Dockers have pick eight in the draft, with Claremont key forward Jack Buller and Subiaco goalsneak Robert Hansen jnr reportedly among the players under consideration.