Boredom the key for Fremantle as the buzz and hype grow

Justin Chadwick |

Justin Longmuir (r), coach of the Dockers, looks around as he speaks to his players against Crows.
Justin Longmuir (r), coach of the Dockers, looks around as he speaks to his players against Crows.

Fremantle coach Justin Longmuir is urging his players to embrace the boredom and monotony of the AFL season as the buzz around the club continues to build.

The Dockers improved to 3-0 following their 35-point win over Adelaide on Friday night.

It marks Fremantle’s best start to an AFL season since 2015, when they began with nine consecutive victories on the way to the minor premiership.

The Dockers were widely tipped to finish near the bottom of the ladder before 2024 began, but they now loom as a top-four challenger.

Longmuir is confident his players won’t get carried away by the growing outside hype.

“Nothing really changes, because consistency works on both ends of the scale, whether you’re 3-0 or 0-3,” Longmuir said.

“We need to make sure that we embrace the boredom and the monotony of the season and make sure we prepare really well each week, and make sure the players go through their processes.

“So nothing really changes. There’s still outside noise, it’ll just be more positive, so we can’t read into that.

“We’ve still got plenty of work, plenty to build on, plenty of improvement left in us. So players should see this as a really great opportunity.”

Fremantle Dockers players
Fremantle Dockers players take the applause of a delighted home crowd at Perth’s Optus Stadium. (Richard Wainwright/AAP PHOTOS)

Fremantle have come from behind to beat Brisbane, North Melbourne and Adelaide this year, but their toughest test will come next week when they take on unbeaten Carlton in Gather Round.

Longmuir isn’t too concerned by the fact his team are yet to win an opening term in 2024.

“I’d rather be behind at quarter time and win than the other three teams we played, being in front and losing,” Longmuir said.

“No disrespect to the other teams, but the game is played over four quarters.

“I think (against Adelaide) it was our most consistent four-quarter performance.”

Dockers captain Alex Pearce was sensational in defence, restricting Adelaide spearhead Taylor Walker to a sole behind.

Jordan Clark and Luke Ryan provided excellent bounce from half-back, while second-gamer Josh Draper also impressed.

Draper, who is 197cm tall, reminds Longmuir of former Fremantle defender Michael Johnson.

“He’s really composed. He’s defended really well,” Longmuir said of the 20-year-old.

“He’s like the old number 37 (Johnson) in some ways, he just finds a bit more time than some other players can.”

Fremantle’s tackling intensity was a key factor in their win against Adelaide.

“I think those sorts of efforts, the desperation comes back to trademark,” Longmuir said.

“It comes back to culture in some respect.

“The players have done a really good job of driving the connection and the standards across the summer, and we want to build a culture and a game style of play where we never give up.

“I think all the good teams do those sorts of things. So it’s pleasing to see.”