Fremantle Dockers, rebuild, Flagmantle, slow-mo Freo, Justin Longmuir, Jye Amiss, Luke Jackson, trade, bold calls

The Flagmantle dream has reignited off the back of four straight wins for the Dockers.

Their success-starved fans had hoped for big things in 2023 from a club that went to a semi final last year and then spent up big to lure footy “unicorn” Luke Jackson home.

But a 2-5 start – with one of those wins coming against an injury depleted West Coast, left many questioning where it had all gone wrong for Justin Longmuir’s men.

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The critics circled fast, with their star recruit dubbed ‘No Action Jackson’ in a brutal WA headline, while the tag ‘Slow-mo Freo’ was coined to describe their game style.

So what happened to turn it all around a month later?

Dockers lose ‘most important player’ | 01:42


Jordan Clark says it took an honest discussion between players and coach that sparked their rise – and wins over premiership favourites Geelong and Melbourne.

“I wouldn’t have said it was massive game plan changes, it was more a chat with JL to say bring some dare, play with a bit more freedom and have a bit more fun out there,” he revealed on the Sunday Footy Show.

“I certainly feel like that’s led to where we are at the moment.

“I’d say the leadership probably had a conversation with JL. It was more JL coming out and reinforcing to us as a group we are good enough and when we play with a bit more dare and freedom, we’re capable of winning games.”

Since that chat, the Dockers have been the highest scoring team of the competition the past four games – as the only side averaging more than 100 points.

“The interesting one for me is Fremantle,” Jordan Lewis said this week on RSN.

“You hear Longmuir interviewed – he’s rarely flustered. They’ve certainly changed the way they’ve played.

“They are not as boring as they were the first couple of rounds.

“There’s no surprises they are starting to play a lot better, they look more free flowing with their ball movement.

“For them to continue on their win streak, but also for them to get around that mental barrier to come to Melbourne to play on the MCG and beat what we say would be a top four side in Melbourne, I think it’s a huge achievement.

“So maybe it does take for the players to get together to say ‘hey the way we’re playing, one it’s not really motivating because it’s boring the hell out of us and two, we feel like we can contribute more if you just give us a little bit more freedom’.

“I think it’s a credit to Longmuir to actually take that on board and understand the way that they prepared over the pre-season has changed slightly.”

Fremantle Dockers Press Conference | 08:55


Luke Jackson landed at Fremantle as the club’s biggest trade coup since arguably giving up Adam McPhee and picks 3 and 19 for Des Headland back in 2002.

But it’s no secret Jackson didn’t hit the ground running as a Docker.

However, it needs to be remembered he’s a 21-year-old youngster finding his feet in versatile role for a new club.

Against Melbourne, he showed exactly what he’s capable of and why Fremantle see him as a long-term prospect crucial to the side’s premiership hopes.

“I think a great way to judge a player is how you handle coming up against old teammates and his performance (against Melbourne) was excellent,” Nathan Buckley praised on SEN.

“When the game needed Freo to stand up and really challenge, his work in and around stoppages was great. Aerial work was great.

“I thought Luke Jackson really stood up for the Fremantle Dockers on the weekend.

The Dockers celebrate winning at the MCG. Picture: Quinn RooneySource: Getty Images

“(Josh) Treacy is still a young player, (Jye) Amiss is showing signs he’s going to be great… I still think they need another tall aerial target.

“I think those two (Sean Darcy and Jackson) still work in tandem.

“I think they could well be the best ruck duo going around over the next couple of years.

“Luke Jackson after a slow start, has come on really well.”

Statistics show Jackson is enjoying career high averages for disposals, goals, tackles and contested marks in 2023 as his versatility has seen him used as a marking forward, ruckman and midfielder.

Now with teammate Sean Darcy sidelined through injury, the ruck load will fall squarely on Jackson’s shoulders.

“Out of necessity when Sean went down on the weekend, it had to be the ruck (where he played),” former Docker Michael Barlow said on SEN WA.

“I think that looks like his most natural position.

“What he has in his kit bag poses a significant threat and that showed through in the second half on Saturday (against Melbourne).”

Kingy’s huge praise for Freo forwards | 03:02


Fremantle didn’t hesitate to select WA country kid Jye Amiss with their first selection in the 2021 Draft.

And the Busselton product has only gone from strength to strength in his 13 AFL games, taking out the rising star nomination for his three-goal effort against the Demons last weekend.

What’s more remarkable is the 19-year-old missed a massive chunk of his debut season after a serious kidney injury saw him rushed to hospital for surgery.

Yet he still worked his way into Freo’s two finals in 2022 and has now become a key asset in the Dockers’ forward line.

“The Dockers fans, I think we should be getting pretty excited about Jye Amiss,” Barlow said.

“WA product which helps – he’s going to be attached to WA and want to make Fremantle his home for a long time.

“He’s shown he has a level of calmness and capacity to get the job done in big moments.

“He is now spearheading that forward line at a young age.

“Since Pav (club great Matthew Pavlich) I don’t think there’s been a huge amount of excitement around what the key forwards stocks look like – there’s been some warriors and guys in there who have shown glimpses – Lobb and Tabs.

“(Amiss) kicks it and uses it like an outside mid – like a wingman.

“Get excited Dockers fans, I think he’s going to be one to keep the Dockers relevant and competitive for a long time.”

Jye Amiss is having a standout 2023 season. Picture: Michael KleinSource: News Corp Australia


Fremantle won just four games in 2016 – but instead of wallowing, they got to work at the Draft.

They snared four players crucial to their rebuild – with three of those still at the club in 2023.

Griffin Logue (now at North Melbourne) was taken at 8, ruck Sean Darcy at 37, Brennan Cox at 41 and Luke Ryan at 61.

The first of the club’s shrewd calls came in 2017 when they offered up Lachie Weller to the Suns to ensure they went into the Draft with an envious hand – picks 2 and 5.

They snared Andy Brayshaw and Adam Cerra to continue to build a midfield after star Nat Fyfe and veteran David Mundy.

It’s worth noting the Dockers picked up a draft steal that year with Sam Switkowski at pick 73.

Sam Sturt was their first selection at 17 in 2018, while Lachie Schultz landed with pick 57.

It was in 2019 that the Dockers really delivered at the trade table as they offloaded players including Brad Hill and Ed Langdon to shore up their future.

Knowing they needed to accumulate enough points for bids on talented academy prospect Liam Henry, Freo also had to aces up their sleeve with two top 10 picks.

They packaged up their pick 10 received for Brad Hill (in a deal that also landed Blake Acres) with their pick 28 and a future fourth rounder to snare Melbourne’s pick 8.

Freo thrash Hawthorn in the West | 00:57

That deal ensured the club took back-to-back selections into the Draft – snaring Hayden Young at pick 7 and Caleb Serong at pick 8.

When Carlton jumped at pick 9 for Henry, Fremantle matched that bid, ensuring they took three consecutive players inside the top 10.

A late pick at 61 saw Michael Frederick arrive too.

With the midfield shored up, the Dockers moved to add versatility to their backline.

In 2020 they snared Heath Chapman with their first rounder at 14, Nathan O’Driscoll with 27 and Brandon Walker at 50. They also added Josh Treacy with pick 7 in the rookie draft.

With the backline built and the midfield growing, it was time for Freo to find the forward they desperately needed – and one who like club great Matthew Pavlich would stay long-term.

And it was Jye Amiss with pick 8 in 2021 to fill that role.

The Dockers may have had to let players like Adam Cerra and Griffin Logue go, but they’ve maintained their build progress – and gotten maximum return for their departures.

Sure, they’ve made some calls that haven’t paid off, including the trades for Jesse Hogan and Rory Lobb – but they didn’t sell the farm for those players.

And their departures haven’t left a gaping hole that needs to be filled.