In 2021 there was a lot made of Fremantle’s inaccuracy and, while I have desperately tried to find a negating reason, sadly there isn’t a great deal to hang your hat on if you’re trying to disagree with the criticisms. Adding insult to injury, after looking at the historical data, the criticism isn’t necessarily exclusive to 2021 so the best defensive argument I could come up with was the face-saving concessionary, “tell me something I don’t know” and “that old chestnut” routine.
Apart from our most successful period around the 2013 era, accuracy has been our Achilles heel. And the ridiculousness in me leads me to contemplate if, considering accuracy or rather inaccuracy stems from the foot region, could the individual’s Achilles ironically be our Achilles heel itself? Can we pass the buck and pile this absurdity on Jason Webber as well?
Let’s move on from that preposterousness!
For the purpose of this piece and the data in the table below we’re classing 'inaccurate games' as kicking more points than goals in individual games.
The simple and blatantly obvious fact is accuracy has never been our strong suit. In our 27 seasons to date, of all the teams that have been in the competition since 1995, we have the worst record for the number of inaccurate games.
When we add in, Port Adelaide, Gold Coast and GWS, we’re still the second worst team.
Six of the twenty-seven seasons we have registered the most, or equal most, inaccurate games in the competition.
In 2013, our Grand Final year, we were second best in the comp with just 4 inaccurate games while in 2015 we tied with North Melbourne and Hawthorn to lead the competition, again with just 4 inaccurate games.
As averages go, the competition runs at a tick over 7.5 inaccurate games per team per season. Unfortunately, we’re supporting the higher end of the average running at a disturbing 9.1 inaccurate games per season, a horrible rate of 42%.
Breaking down the statistics a bit more, the premiers in each of the 27 years average 6.7 inaccurate games, while the top 4 finishers average 6.64 inaccurate games per season.
Whether it is an aspect of their game they intensely focused on or not, Hawthorn has fence panels on the field averaging just 5.5 inaccurate games per year. So it comes as no surprise that during their era of dominance from 2012 to 2015 they impressively averaged just 3.75 inaccurate games per season.
However, while obviously helpful and important, it’s not a defining ingredient in relation to finals success or particularly in securing premierships.
In 1998 Adelaide produced 11 inaccurate games before going on to win the premiership. Collingwood turned in 10 inaccurate games in their 2010 premiership season, Richmond 11 games in their 2017 triumph as did Melbourne last year.
Hawthorn have the record for the least number of inaccurate games in a single season. In 2014, the second of their premierships in the three-peat, they kicked accurately in 21 of 22 home and away season games. If we include their three finals in that year, it’s a smashing 24 from 25 games where they kicked more goals than behinds.
As far as us poor long suffering Fremantle Dockers go, thankfully we don’t own the record of the most inaccurate games in a season. That achievement belongs to St Kilda with 16 set in 2018. However, we’ve given it decent nudge three times with 15 inaccurate game seasons in 1996, 2011and our well documented recent effort in 2021.
While ultimately it is a wide ranging often truth distorting, meaningless and trivial statistic, it can occasionally be quite revealing.
The West Coast Eagles have been the most, or equal most, accurate team in the competition in five of the last six seasons, but there is no shadow of a doubt Josh Kennedy has distorted the club's form. While they stole the 2018 flag, Kennedy has masked the reality of the side since, enabling them to appear more competent than they are. His form, and particularly his 65% accuracy over that time, has covered up underlying club issues, evidence by their pitiful 2021.
And I find it very odd because I would have thought it was the 2006 premiership* era when they wall papered over the crack!
As mentioned at the top accuracy has perennially been a monumental issue for us Freo Dockers. Its not everything but if you’re going to be as inaccurate as we have been, you need to be generating a lot more shots on goal. It can, on some level, be the rare occasion where quantity can be as effective as quality so if we can rectify one of those two areas in 2022, it should go along way to securing us finals for the first time since 2015.