Welcome to the 2022 Free Agency & Trade Period analysis series. Over the next fortnight, the plan is to look at every player heading to a new club. It’s not going to be a ‘who won the trade’ series, but rather a look at how players fit into existing setups, or what changes they may force.
Throughout 2022, it was clear Fremantle’s next area of improvement would come from their forward line and ball movement.
To do that, they needed to find a mobile, roaming, third marking forward.
By picking up Josh Corbett for a future fourth round pick, the Dockers have what basically amounts to a free swing, with a player who fits the role perfectly on paper.
During the free agency and trade period, these posts will be exclusive to Patrons on the $7.50 and $10 tiers for 24 hours after publishing.
After that they’ll be free for all. Given the Patreon is only running until the end of October, signing up now means only one payment on sign up, and then nothing else needed until March 2023.
In the Round 15 Notebook, I wrote the following:
Fremantle are the worst of the top-eight sides at scoring from their back half. To be clear, it’s not an enormous issue or deal breaker given how the game is played in 2022, but still a noticeable area for improvement.
A third, more mobile option should open up leading channels for Fremantle and ease strain on their ball movement.
They ended up 12th overall in this area during the home and away season. The best teams were able to restrict Fremantle’s measured ball movement and at this stage of their development, they didn’t have the personnel or alternate ways to progress in possession.
In a vacuum, that’s not surprising or necessarily a negative thing – Fremantle are far from the finished article in terms of list build or age demographic, and it would have been unrealistic to expect them to suddenly sprout as such in 2022.
Corbett, and the role he plays, fits the bill perfectly. He works up high, is a strong lead, and creates space for players like Taberner and (I assume) Jackson closer to goal.
The question is whether the perfect fit on paper translates to real life – in his four years at Gold Coast, Corbett was almost always on the fringe of the side, barring most of 2021 when he kicked 23 goals in 16 games (14 appearances).
With Amiss and Treacy also on Fremantle’s books and developing, there are multiple options to work with in looking to improve the scoring power in 2023 as well. There’s every chance Corbett ends up stuck behind one or both of them on the depth chart.
But clearly with this signing, the Dockers have zeroed in on this position as an area of focus and they’re working to try and fix it. Regardless of whether this move pays off, that’s all you can ask for.
And if it doesn’t, it has cost them next to nothing. It’s as low cost as you can get.
If you’ve missed any of the Free Agency & Trade Analysis posts, here’s where to catch up:
Karl Amon, Hawthorn