Fremantle midfielder Lachie Neale admits there’s no quick fix to the club’s scoring woes, but he’s confident they can do enough to ensure they taste success during the AFL finals.
The Dockers are just one win away from reaching their first grand final after beating Sydney by nine points in last week’s qualifying final in Perth.
Although Fremantle are the best defensive side in the competition, their inability to match the scoring potency of the other premiership contenders remains a big concern.
The Dockers ranked 12th in attack during the home-and-away season, averaging just 84.4 points per game.
And that figure drops to just 77 points per game if you take away Fremantle’s opening eight rounds when they were in white-hot form.
In contrast, Hawthorn (111.5 points per game) and West Coast (105.9) have had no such scoring troubles this season.
“We’re under no illusions we’ve got to improve,” Neale told SEN.
“Our ball movement – at times we’ve gone away from the principles that has got us scoring more.
“There’s no quick fix and there’s no simple answer. We’ve just got to keep working hard.
“We’re really optimistic we can improve and get the results we’re looking for.
“We have proved we can do it. Even though it’s only been in patches over the last few months, we know we can produce it … in the next couple of weeks.”
Michael Walters and Hayden Ballantyne played crucial roles in the win over Sydney, with the small forwards booting three goals apiece on a day when spearhead Matthew Pavlich went goalless.
The dynamic duo again loom as the key to Fremantle’s fortunes when the club hosts a preliminary final next Friday.
“They were both super against Sydney,” Dockers defender Garrick Ibbotson said of Walters and Ballantyne.
“Especially Hayden coming off a torn pec – his forward pressure was unbelievable.
“He throws his body into everything. And Walters is the same.
“To have them both working up there, it creates a bit of an issue for opposition defenders when they’re both there.”
West Australian football fans will be treated to two preliminary finals in their home state next week.
Ibbotson can already sense the excitement.
“It’s been buzzing for a while,” Ibbotson told 3AW.
“I try to stay out of Subiaco as much as I can – it’s all blue and yellow there.
“The streets of Fremantle are purple, so it’s more of a safe option for me.”