Sometimes in football you can see things with your own eyes that you still struggle to believe. Nathan O’Driscoll kicking left foot goals from the boundary on what would usually be the wrong side, for one example. And the 2022 Blake Acres is another. Somehow the unimaginable can become the reality but it is not exclusive to players. Us fans have also performed the unthinkable feat, like getting ahead of ourselves and being hit by the same train we’re all aboard!
For fans of a team that has had little to no meaningful success over nearly 30 years, it is entirely understandable we get a bit edgy and go off a bit early. As a result, it’s probably safe to say most of us wouldn’t have long careers in the adult entertainment industry world. But that may be underselling our overall staying capacity of our purple members and our ability to back up again. Wait… this got a little confusingly weirder than we meant so let’s just move right along…
The fact is we relish and celebrate anything even remotely successful in our own unique way and I, for one, love that about our Fremantle Docker fans. But bigger picture, we need to get a handle on premature celebrations because the irrational sentiment can lead to errors of judgments and unfair assessments of individuals.
Take youngster Josh Treacy. Did I mention he’s a youngster? Currently 19 years of age, he turns 20 in a couple of months. His limited individual success from his even more limited number of games has already unfairly sparked questions over his ability.
The fact is our forward line has been our Achilles heel since the day the great Matthew Pavlich said he wanted to move on from playing football so he could enter the media to take pot shots at the West Coast Eagles. God bless that man!
Since then, all we have heard in our forward line has been the whizz… no not the Jeffery Farmer type Wiz, the whizz of the eternal revolving door and the accompanying classic Talking Heads “we’re on the road to nowhere” background music.
I don’t wan to run us through our drafting and trading history as we all know the mistakes made but the forward line is something we have never been able to repair or reconstruct.
Josh Treacy was taken in the rookie draft in 2020. That alone should be enough to tell us he’s maybe just potentially a prospect. A little more than a throw at the stumps but in that free hit vicinity.
But suggesting a still only 19-year-old rookie draft recruit is not up to AFL standard just twenty games over two seasons later, after not playing a single game anywhere in 2020, and after trying to hold down a key forward role with no assistance or competent delivery whatsoever in incredibly unsuitable conditions… that’s taking the emotive sentiment a little too far in my book.
The quick to criticize clan may well end up being correct. I don’t know the figures but I would suggest many more forwards that get drafted, don’t make it than do. JT may end up being a Brendon Fewster type WAFL superstar that doesn’t have the same impact at the higher level. But what do you want, a medal if you are right?
If you’re critical of Treacy because you judge a forward entirely on number of goals, you’ll note Treacy has kicked just 14 goals in his 20 games to date. But you probably didn’t note that Matthew Taberner, another rookie draft recruit, went at 19 goals for his first 20 games and he played them around a team of seasoned finalists, in and coming off a grand final appearance year. Whilst he offers other value at times, Rory Lobb still goes at under a goal a game, 127 games later as a predominant forward.
It is a balancing act. With the likes of Jye Amiss and Sam Sturt looking and needing to get their AFL careers going, there are no doubt some headaches in trying to provide ample opportunities for all. But there is little to no point in picking up players, especially the potential of Josh Treacy, and not getting a definitive answer from an acceptable and realistic body of work.
There will come a time, a judgement day, when calls on players such as Josh Treacy will need to be made but if you’re making that call today, the first 9 games of this season have you frazzled and you’ve lost your rational self. The day we assess the damage the Cyclone has or hasn’t done, is a long way into the distance.
I mean think about it, do the young West Coast Eagles get the chop for not adhering to and indulging in their club’s culture? No, they get around them, provide encouragement and show them the support until they themselves are doing midnight triathlons down canning highway and the swan river!
We all sense and possess the frustration when we see him drop a mark or miss a goal and it stems from, I think, all of us desperately wanting the Cyclone to be that player we have… yeah seen indicative signs of, but more so maybe the player we have unfairly and prematurely built him up to potentially be.
That said, it is absolutely everyone’s right to make their own assessments of individuals and make them public. But sometimes we could benefit from Josh Treacy’s second and third efforts that many of us seem to have overlooked.