Samiksha Jaiswal (Editor)

Fremantle Football Club

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Nickname(s)  Dockers, Freo
Doig Medal  Lachie Neale
Coach  Ross Lyon (Head coach)
Training ground  Fremantle Oval
Mascot  Johnny "The Doc" Docker
After finals  16th
Captain  David Mundy
Arena/Stadium  Subiaco Oval
Fight song  Freo Way to Go
Fremantle Football Club httpslh6googleusercontentcomW3TCCQYpaAUAAA
Full name  Fremantle Football Club
Leading goalkicker  Michael Walters (36 goals)
Founded  1994; 23 years ago (1994)

1968 south fremantle football club training

The Fremantle Football Club, nicknamed the Dockers, is a professional Australian rules football team that competes in the Australian Football League (AFL). The club is based in the port city of Fremantle at the mouth of the Swan River in Western Australia. In 1995 it became the second team from Western Australia after the West Coast Eagles to be admitted to the AFL, honouring the rich footballing tradition and history associated with Fremantle.


High-profile players since the club's inception include former captain and six time All-Australian Matthew Pavlich, 2015 Brownlow Medallist Nat Fyfe, the league's tallest ever player Aaron Sandilands, Peter Bell, Shaun McManus, former number one draft pick Clive Waterhouse, winners of the AFL Rising Star award Paul Hasleby and Rhys Palmer, Jeff Farmer, Luke McPharlin and Hayden Ballantyne.

The club is coached by Ross Lyon following the sacking of Mark Harvey at the end of the 2011 AFL home and away season. Fremantle has not won a premiership during its time in the AFL, however it did win the minor premiership in 2015, and reached the 2013 AFL Grand Final which it lost to Hawthorn.

Programmed and the fremantle football club

Australian rules football in Fremantle

The port city of Fremantle has long been a stronghold of Australian rules football in Western Australia, hosting the state's first game in 1881. The East Fremantle and South Fremantle Football Clubs dominated the early years of the West Australian Football League (WAFL), winning 24 of the first 34 premierships.

Since 1897, Fremantle Oval has been the main venue for Australian rules football matches in the city. The largest attendance at a football match in Western Australia was 52,781 at Perth's Subiaco Oval for the 1979 WANFL Grand Final between East Fremantle and South Fremantle.

Champion players who forged careers playing for Fremantle-based clubs include, among many others, Steve Marsh, Jack Sheedy, John Todd, George Doig, William Truscott and Bernie Naylor.

Fremantle in the Australian Football League

Negotiations between East Fremantle and South Fremantle to enter into the VFL as a merged club began in 1987. However, due to an exclusive rights clause granted to the West Coast Eagles this would be impossible until the end of the 1992 season. Further applications were made by the clubs to join but their model was out of favour with the West Australian Football Commission.

The AFL announced on 14 December 1993 that a new team, to be based in Fremantle, would enter the league in 1995. The names "Fremantle Football Club", "Fremantle Dockers" and the club colours of purple, red, green and white were announced on 12 July 1994. The decision to base the new club in Fremantle was primarily due to the long association of Australian rules football in Fremantle. However it was not represented in a national club competition until 1995, eight years after the first expansion of the then Victorian Football League into Western Australia in 1987 with the creation of the West Coast Eagles. Their first training session was held on 31 October 1994 at Fremantle Oval.

The team endured some tough years near the bottom of the premiership ladder, until they finished fifth after the home and away rounds in 2003 and made the finals for the first time. The elimination final against eighth placed Essendon at Subiaco Oval was then the club's biggest ever game, but ended in disappointment for the home team, with the finals experience of Essendon proving too strong for the young team. They then missed making the finals in the following two seasons, finishing both years with 11 wins, 11 losses and only 1 game outside the top 8.

After an average first half to the 2006 AFL season, Fremantle finished the year with a club record nine straight wins to earn themselves 3rd position at the end of the home and away season, a club record 15 wins in a year and a double chance for their September finals campaign. In the qualifying final against Adelaide at AAMI Stadium, the Dockers led for the first three quarters before being overrun by the Crows. The following week (15 September) saw the club win its first finals game in the semi-final against Melbourne at Subiaco Oval. The club subsequently earned a trip to Sydney to play in its first ever preliminary-final the following Friday night (22 September) at ANZ Stadium against the Sydney Swans, where they lost by 35 points.

Recent history

In 2007, following Chris Connolly's resignation midway through the season, Mark Harvey, a three-time premiership player with Essendon, was appointed caretaker coach for the club. During his seven matches for 2007, Harvey coached the Dockers to four wins and three losses. The club came 11th that year, and Harvey was appointed full-time coach at the end of the season. The following year saw the club slump to 14th.

In Round 15, 2009, Fremantle recorded the lowest score in its history and of the 2000s, scoring only 1.7 (13) to the Adelaide Crows' 19.16 (130). It scored just one point in the first half and the only goal scored came in the third quarter. Earlier that year, in Round 4, they scored their lowest ever score in Melbourne, 4.4.(28), against eventual runners-up St Kilda.

After finishing 6th in the 2010 regular season, the team booked their first finals appearance since 2006 and third ever home final. The team played Hawthorn at Subiaco Oval and despite being considered underdogs, went on to win by 30 points. The win came from strong performances from Luke McPharlin and Adam McPhee who limited the impact of Lance Franklin and Luke Hodge, respectively. The team's second ever win in a finals match qualified them for a semifinal to be played against the Geelong Cats at the MCG the following week. In a one-sided contest, Geelong won easily by 69 points.

The 2011 season saw Fremantle lose just once in the first six rounds (against Geelong), before injury struck to several players, none more important than premier ruckman Aaron Sandilands. The Dockers ended up finishing 11th on the ladder after losing their last 7 games of the season, with the injury list growing longer each week. Key players Matthew Pavlich, David Mundy, Nat Fyfe, Luke McPharlin (late withdrawal), Hayden Ballantyne, Adam McPhee, Nick Lower (suspended) and Matthew de Boer all missed the final game of the season against the Western Bulldogs, which was Mark Harvey's last game as senior coach of Fremantle.

Fremantle made it into the 2012 finals after finishing the regular season in 7th position and had to play the reigning premiers, Geelong, at the MCG in an elimination final. Despite being considered the underdog in the game, Fremantle managed a 16-point victory over Geelong. This win marked Fremantle's first finals win away. Fremantle subsequently lost to Adelaide in their next final, which was played at AAMI Stadium in Adelaide.

In the 2013 season, Fremantle surpassed its 2006 performance, finishing the regular season with 16 wins, 5 losses and in third position. In the qualifying finals Fremantle had to play second placed Geelong at Simonds Stadium on 7 September. After a relatively close game where the two teams exchanged the lead multiple times, Fremantle eventually overcame Geelong and ended up winning the game by 15 points. In doing so, Fremantle hosted a preliminary final for the first time in its history, in which they defeated the reigning premiers, the Sydney Swans, by 25 points. However, in their first Grand Final, the fairytale came to an end as the Dockers were defeated by Hawthorn by a margin of 15 points.

2014 saw the club reach the finals for the third successive year, but despite earning a double chance by finishing fourth, were knocked out after losses to Sydney away and Port Adelaide at home. Nat Fyfe was awarded the Leigh Matthews Trophy when he was voted League's most valuable player by the other AFL players.

2015 saw the club win its first piece of silverware, the minor premiership, with one round still to play in the regular season. However, the club failed to convert this into a Grand Final appearance, losing to Hawthorn by 27 points in its home preliminary final.

Fremantle ended their 2015 AFL season with midfielder Nat Fyfe winning the 2015 Brownlow Medal.

In 2016 however, Fremantle would experience one of the worst falls from grace in history, as they would lose their first 10 games, and only win 4 for the year. Nat Fyfe was sidelined for the season with a lower leg injury, while recruit Harley Bennell would not play a game due to a calf injury. Aaron Sandilands also missed huge chunks of the year, while other talent would miss large amounts of games.

Western Derby

Fremantle's biggest rivalry is with the other Western Australian team, the West Coast Eagles, who they play twice each year in the home and away season, in the fiercely contested "Western Derby" matches (Pronounced /ˈdɜːrbi/ in Western Australia). West Coast were victorious in the first nine games, before Fremantle won in round 16, 1999. Since 2006, when the Dockers won both derbies in a season for the first time, Fremantle has been the more successful team, winning nine of the twelve games, including seven in a row between 2007 and 2010. The term "derby" is named after the Fremantle Derby games between East and South Fremantle in the West Australian Football League, which for almost 100 years have been considered some of the most important games in the local league. The 1979 WANFL Grand Final still holds the Subiaco Oval football attendance record of 52,781.

St Kilda controversies

The Dockers and the St Kilda Football Club have seen a number of controversial events between them, most notably the AFL siren controversy at York Park in 2006. The match was set into a state of confusion with Fremantle leading by one point when the siren (which had not been very loud all game) was not heard by the umpires who then allowed St Kilda tagger Steven Baker to score a point after time had elapsed and, as a result, the match ended in a draw. The outcome of the game was taken to the AFL Commission and it was decided during the week that as the siren had gone Fremantle were judged to be the winners, disallowing Baker's point.

During the 2011 off-season, Fremantle sacked coach Mark Harvey and replaced him with then-St Kilda coach Ross Lyon in controversial circumstances. The move was met with much criticism towards Fremantle's president, Steve Harris, and CEO, Steve Rosich, claiming that they had "backstabbed" Harvey. Lyon was also met with widespread criticism and was accused of backstabbing St Kilda by many Saints supporters as the club was made aware that Fremantle had approached Lyon during St Kilda's lead-up to its finals campaign. The two clubs contested a highly anticipated Friday night match in Round 4 of the 2012 AFL season at Etihad Stadium, with Fremantle winning by 13 points and Lyon being booed throughout the match.

Overall performance

Fremantle were one of the least successful clubs in the league, with an overall win percentage of 44.7% as of the end of the 2014 season. Since 2010, however, the club has played in the finals series in five of the six seasons, including the last four in succession, of which highlights include, among others, reaching the AFL Grand Final for the first time in 2013, and winning the minor premiership in 2015.

Fremantle played in its first drawn match in Round 8, 2013 against the Sydney Swans. In 2006 against St Kilda at Aurora Stadium in Launceston, Tasmania they did play in a controversial Round 5 match that initially ended in a draw. However, the AFL overturned the draw result the following Wednesday after the match, due to an off-field error made by the timekeepers not sounding the siren for long enough, and declared Fremantle as one-point winners. This was the first time a game result had been later overturned since 1900.


Shortly after the club was launched in 1994, Levi Strauss & Co., which produces the Dockers brand of clothing, challenged the club's right to use the name "Fremantle Dockers", specifically on clothing. As a result, the club and AFL discontinued the official use of the "Dockers" nickname in 1997. However, the team was still known unofficially as "The Dockers", both inside and outside the club, including in their official team song "Freo Way to Go" and the official club magazine "Docker". In October 2010, the strong association that members and fans have with the "Dockers" nickname led the club to form a new arrangement with Levi Strauss & Co which allows the club to officially use the nickname "Dockers" everywhere including on clothing and other brand elements. This name change was made in conjunction with changes to the club logo and playing strip.


Until 2011 the Fremantle Football Club used the anchor symbol as the basis for all of their guernseys. The home guernsey was purple, with a white anchor on the front separating the chest area into two panels, which were coloured red and green to represent the traditional maritime port and starboard colours. The away or clash guernsey was all white with a purple anchor. Since the end of the 2010 home and away season the home jumper is purple with 3 white chevrons and the away jumper is white with 3 purple chevrons.

One game each year is designated as the Purple Haze game, where an all-purple jumper with a white anchor is worn. This game is used to raise money for the Starlight Children's Foundation. After the guernsey re-design to a predominately purple home jumper, Fremantle wore the starlight foundation logo, a yellow star, above the highest chevron for their Purple Haze game.

Since 2003, the AFL has marketed one round each year as the Heritage Round. Until 2006 Fremantle wore a white guernsey with 3 red chevrons, to emulate the jumper worn by the original Fremantle Football Club in 1885. However, in 2007, the selected round had Fremantle playing Sydney, who also wear red and white. An alternative blue and white striped design was used, based on the jumper worn by the East Fremantle Football Club in their 1979 WAFL Grand Final win over the South Fremantle Football Club. This Fremantle Derby still holds the record for the highest attendance at a football game of any code in Western Australia, with 52,781 attending at Subiaco Oval.

In September 2008, newly appointed CEO Steve Rosich confirmed that the Fremantle Football Club would undergo a thorough review of all areas, including the club's team name, song, guernsey, and logo in a bid to boost its marketability. However he later confirmed that the purple colour will be maintained as it had become synonymous with Fremantle.

Home ground and administration headquarters

Fremantle Football Club had its original training and administration facilities at Fremantle Oval. On 21 February 2017 the club moved its training and administration facilities to Cockburn ARC, a world-class facility constructed in 2015–17 at a price of $109 million, located in the suburb of Cockburn Central.

The team's home games are currently played at Subiaco Oval. From 2018, Fremantle will join rivals West Coast in moving all home games to the newly constructed 60,000 seat capacity Perth Stadium. Between 1995 and 2000 the club also played home games at the WACA Ground.


The official song of the club is Freo Way to Go. The Fremantle Dockers' club song that was used from 1995 until 2011 was called Freo Heave Ho and was written in the mid-1990s by Ken Walther and unlike many of the other Australian rules team songs, it is played to a contemporary rock tune but is based on a traditional Igor Stravinsky arrangement of a Russian folk song, Song of the Volga Boatmen, but most of the song was an original composition by Walther. After the 2011 season, the Volga Boatmen section was dropped, leaving only the part written by Walther.

The song is regarded with a great deal of derision from many opposition supporters and equally fierce loyalty from many fans. At the end of the 2010 season, there was speculation that the song would be changed at the same time as the jumper and logo was changed, but only a review of the song was announced.

In October 2011, the official website of the Dockers released four options for members to vote on to be the club song in 2012 and beyond. One of the songs titled "Freo Freo" was written by Australian indie-rock group and the Dockers' number one ticket holder Eskimo Joe.


  • 1995–1999: Grinder – A cartoon-like docker man, in a similar style to Popeye, with a permanent snarl, oversized jaw and muscular arms.
  • 2000–2003: The Doc – a straggly blonde-haired mascot, similar in appearance to Fremantle players Clive Waterhouse or Shaun McManus.
  • 2003–present: Johnny "The Doc" Docker – a blonde haired surfer with a surfboard under one arm is the Docker's official mascot in the Mascot Manor promotion for kids. Jenny Docker is also a mascot of the Fremantle Football Club.
  • Number 1 ticketholders

    It is traditional for each club to recognise a prominent supporter as the No. 1 ticketholder. Fremantle originally chose to award this to the sitting member for the federal seat of Fremantle. This was roundly criticised as the member may or may not be a supporter of the club and unnecessarily linked politics with sport. The policy was soon changed to select a well-known Fremantle identity for a two-year period.

    On 23 April 2010, Eskimo Joe were announced as the number one ticketholder for the Fremantle Football Club, replacing golfer Nick O'Hern. The band's drummer and guitarist, Joel Quartermain, hinted that they might write a new theme song for the club, saying that

    We'll give it a crack. We're back here this winter writing our new record so, while we're at it, we may as well knock off a new theme song.

    Other high-profile fans include psychedelic rock band Tame Impala, a former Premier of Western Australia, Alan Carpenter, a former Federal Minister of Defence, Stephen Smith, Tim Minchin, author Tim Winton and journalists and television presenters Dixie Marshall, Simon Reeve, American tennis player John Isner and Matt Price, who wrote a book on Fremantle, Way to Go.


    Since 2003, the Fremantle Football Club has had the Governors of Western Australia as its patron.

  • 2003–2005: John Sanderson
  • 2006–present: Ken Michael
  • Vice-patrons

  • David Malcolm – Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Western Australia (retired)
  • Syd Corser
  • Con Regan and Beryl Regan
  • Steve Marsh
  • Jack Sheedy
  • Current squad

    See also Fremantle Football Club drafting and trading history for the complete list of Fremantle's draft selections, delistings and trades

    Reserves team

    For most of Fremantle's history, players have played for various West Australian Football League (WAFL) teams when not selected to play for the Fremantle AFL team. Players recruited from the WAFL have remained with their original club, and players recruited from interstate have been allocated to teams via a draft system. Starting from the 2014 season, the Peel Thunder Football Club will serve as the host club for the Fremantle Dockers, an arrangement which will see Fremantle's reserves players playing in the WAFL for Peel Thunder Football Club. An attempt to field a standalone Fremantle reserves side in the WAFL was rejected by the other WAFL clubs. A similar host club system was used in 1999 when South Fremantle was the aligned club but was cancelled after a single season.

    Ownership and management

    The club is owned by the West Australian Football Commission (WAFC). Since 2003, a Board of Directors controls the operation of the club, on behalf of the WAFC. Prior to this, a two-tier arrangement was in place, with a Board of Management between the Board of Directors and the Commission. The initial club chief executive officer was David Hatt, who had come from a hockey background, and the inaugural club chairman was Ross Kelly, who had played for West Perth. It was a deliberate act by the commission to avoid having administrators from either East Fremantle or South Fremantle in key roles, as they wanted the club to be bigger than just representing Fremantle.

    Kelly resigned at the end of 1998, replaced by Ross McLean. Whilst he presided over some key financial decisions, including the building of the club's administrative and training centre at Fremantle Oval and the deferment of the licence fee to the AFL, it was Fremantle's lowest point onfield, culminating in a two-win season in 2001 which saw the coach Damien Drum be sacked mid-year. McLean resigned following an inadvertent breach of the salary cap.

    In early 2001 Hatt accepted a government job and Cameron Schwab was appointed. After weathering the fallout from the disastrous 2001 season, Schwab and the new chairman, local West Australian retailing businessman Rick Hart, set about rebuilding the club. A former recruiting manager, Schwab focused on building up the on-field performance by recruiting high-profile players in Trent Croad, Peter Bell and Jeff Farmer, as well as coach Chris Connolly and with Hart then focused on enhancing the corporate and financial standing of the club. The club membership grew every year from 2002 until 2008 and the final licence payment was made to the AFL in 2005.

    Schwab chose to return to Melbourne in 2008 and was replaced as CEO by Steve Rosich, who had previously worked for the West Coast Eagles. A year later Hart resigned as president and Steve Harris, who runs The Brand Agency and had produced advertising for Fremantle since 2002, took over at the end of 2009. Harris had been on the board since November 2008, the first club chairman or president to have previously served on the board. The club has developed into one of the wealthiest clubs in the league and their surprise recruitment of Ross Lyon to replace Mark Harvey as coach at the end of the 2011 is seen as an example of their ruthless drive for sustained success.

    Membership base

    Despite a relative lack of on-field success, Fremantle has recorded membership figures above average for the league. The club in 2005 had the fastest growing membership in the AFL competition with home crowds growing at a similar rate. The club's recent membership slogans have emphasised the passion of Fremantle fans for their team.


    The Doig Medal is the Fremantle Football Club's annual fairest and best award. Currently, the Fremantle coaching staff give every player votes on a 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 basis after every match, including Finals Series matches. Top votes are awarded for what is regarded as an elite performance. At the end of the year the votes are tallied and the Doig Medal Night is held to announce the winner. Variations on the voting system have been used in past years. The awards ceremony has been held at the Fremantle Passenger Terminal (1995), Challenge Stadium (1998–1999), Fremantle Oval (2000–2001), the Grand Ballroom at Burswood Entertainment Complex (2002–2005, 2008–current) and the Perth Convention Exhibition Centre (2006–2007).

    The Beacon Award is presented to the club's best first year player. Mature aged recruits Michael Barlow, Tendai Mzungu and Lee Spurr have won in recent years, despite being significantly older than most first year players.


  • Premierships: Nil
  • Grand Final appearances: One (2013)
  • Minor Premierships: One (2015)
  • Wooden spoons: One (2001)
  • Finals series reached: Seven (2003, 2006, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015)
  • Biggest winning margin: 113 points - 24.13 (157) vs. Greater Western Sydney 6.8 (44), Patersons Stadium, 11 August 2013
  • Biggest losing margin: 117 points - 9.7 (61) vs. West Coast 28.10 (178), Subiaco Oval, 15 April 2000; 1.7 (13) vs. Adelaide 19.16 (130), AAMI Stadium, 11 July 2009
  • Longest winning streak: 9 games (Round 14, 2006 – Round 22, 2006) and (Round 1, 2015 - Round 9, 2015)
  • Longest losing streak: 18 games (Round 22, 2000 – Round 17, 2001)
  • Highest score: 28.12 (180) vs. Collingwood 10.8 (68), Subiaco Oval, 8 May 2005
  • Lowest score: 1.7 (13) vs. Adelaide 19.16 (130), AAMI Stadium, 11 July 2009
  • Individual awards and records

  • Australian Football Hall of Fame inductees: Peter Bell 2015
  • Brownlow Medallists: Nat Fyfe 2015
  • Norm Smith Medallists: None
  • Coleman Medallists: None
  • AFL Rising Star award: Paul Hasleby 2000; Rhys Palmer 2008
  • All Australians: Matthew Pavlich 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008; Peter Bell 2003; Paul Hasleby 2003; Aaron Sandilands 2008, 2009, 2010, 2014; Luke McPharlin 2012; Michael Johnson 2013; Nat Fyfe 2014, 2015; Hayden Ballantyne 2014; David Mundy 2015
  • 22under22: Nat Fyfe 2013; Michael Walters 2013; Lachie Neale 2015
  • International rules representatives: Clive Waterhouse 1999; Matthew Pavlich 2002, 2003; Matthew Carr 2003; Paul Hasleby 2003; Robbie Haddrill 2004; Heath Black 2005; Ryan Crowley 2006; David Mundy 2006, 2015; Brett Peake 2006; Roger Hayden 2008; Garrick Ibbotson 2010; Paul Duffield 2010; Hayden Ballantyne 2015
  • Leigh Matthews Trophy (AFLPA Most Valuable Player) winners: Nat Fyfe 2014, 2015
  • AFLPA Best First Year Player Award winners: Paul Hasleby 2000; Rhys Palmer 2008; Michael Barlow 2010
  • AFLCA Best Young Player Award winners: Stephen Hill 2010; Nat Fyfe 2011
  • Most games: Matthew Pavlich, 353 games (as of 2016 season)
  • Most consecutive games: Matthew Pavlich, 160 games (Rd 15 2001 – Rd 16 2008)
  • Most goals: Matthew Pavlich, 700 goals (as of 2016 season)
  • Most goals in a season: 72 Matthew Pavlich, 2007
  • Most goals in a game: 10 Tony Modra vs Melbourne, Rd 10 1999, MCG
  • Mark of the Year winners: Tony Modra 2000; Luke McPharlin 2005
  • Goal of the Year winners: Winston Abraham 1996; Hayden Ballantyne 2011
  • Attendance records

  • Record attendance (home and away game): 47,423, Round 6, 30 April 2016 at Adelaide Oval v Adelaide
  • Record attendance (home game): 43,249, Preliminary Final, Sept 21 2013 at Subiaco Oval v Sydney.
  • Record attendance (finals match): 100,007, Grand Final, Sept 28, 2013 at MCG v Hawthorn.
  • Fremantle Football Hall of Legends

    The Fremantle Football Hall of Legends was inaugurated by Fremantle Football Club in 1995, in recognition of the new AFL team's links with its home city's football heritage. The inductees are nominated by the two clubs from the Fremantle area in the WAFL: East Fremantle and South Fremantle. In time, players who represented Fremantle in the AFL will join their predecessors in this prestigious Hall.

    AFL Women's team

    In May 2016, the club launched a bid to enter a team in the inaugural AFL Women's season in 2017. As part of the bid, the team would guarantee all players education and job opportunities with the club and the partnering Curtin University.

    Fremantle beat out a bid from rivals West Coast when they were granted a license on 15 June 2016.

    Kiara Bowers and Kara Donnellan were the club's first signings, unveiled along with the league's other 14 marquee players on 27 July 2016. A further 24 senior players and two rookie players were added to the club's inaugural list in the league's drafting and signing period.

    Former South Fremantle assistant coach, Michelle Cowan was appointed the team's inaugural head coach in July 2016.

    The club's initial bid outlined plans for a game each at Domain Stadium and at Curtin University's Bentley campus as well as up to two remaining matches held at the club training base in the city of Cockburn


    Fremantle Football Club Wikipedia