28/05/2024

Can Will Brodie add new depth to the Fremantle midfield? (Photo: Gold Coast Suns/Twitter)

Will Brodie joins a Fremantle midfield with no lack of contested presence. Demonstrating his scoring potential at VFL level, can he find a different dimension to his game to break the best 22?

Will Brodie was taken as a top 10 pick five years ago. Since then, he’s only played 25 games with the Gold Coast Suns.

He was drafted with an AFL-ready build, and drew comparisons to Sydney midfield machine Josh Kennedy. His high contested possession, tackle, and clearance numbers had him on the radar of multiple clubs in the first round.

The Suns had an older midfield across 2017 and 2018, favouring Brayden Fiorini and Ben Ainsworth as the younger options. Brodie struggled to break in, playing just 11 games.

2019 saw Brodie break out with career best statistical averages before a hamstring injury sidelined him, effectively spelling the end of his time with the Suns.

Essendon showed interest in last year’s trade period, but nothing eventuated. In 2022, the contested specialist will wear purple.

The Inner Sanctum explores how Brodie can make a name for himself in the Fremantle midfield.

Brodie in, Cerra out?

Adam Cerra’s inevitable departure leaves a gap in the Fremantle midfield, but not necessarily one that Brodie can replace.

As Cerra’s career has progressed, he’s transitioned from an inside role to more of an aggressive, running, outside position. His tackle numbers have lowered, while his inside 50s have gone up.

Cerra would often attend the majority of centre bounces throughout the season, then used as a classy run and carry or kick forward.

Nat Fyfe, David Mundy, and Sean Darcy led the Dockers for contested possessions per game, with Caleb Serong and Andrew Brayshaw not far behind. Another contested bull is not necessarily a position for the taking.

What Brodie could be is a Mundy protege, stepping in to take his role once he retires. The 36-year-old has signed a one-year contract extension, and doesn’t look like slowing down, but extra insurance couldn’t hurt.

Brodie showed in the Round 2 win against North Melbourne, however, that his leaner build has given him the ability to play further up the ground, pushing up to half forward and along the wing. He finished with two inside 50s and one rebound 50 off 18 disposals.

Will Brodie may need to transform his gamestyle to find a spot in the Fremantle best 22. (Photo: AFL)

Brodie showed this as well at VFL level, kicking 4.4 in his nine games. He also averaged 31.7 disposals and six tackles, a strong presence both in the guts and along the flank.

With the resurgence of Travis Colyer, the pair could form a complementary pair across half-forward. Colyer brings the pace and drive, while Brodie can move his contested work into forward stoppages.

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What do the Dockers do with pick 19?

If Jye Amiss is still available at this pick, the Dockers should be looking at him.

There’s a case to be made that they’ll pick him up with their current first pick, ninth in the first round before bids for Nick Daicos and Sam Darcy push it down.

If the Dockers can pry pick six from Carlton in exchange for Cerra, expect them to take dynamic midfielder/forward (and West Australian) Neil Erasmus with that selection.

Two other options could be in strong consideration: Jacob Van Rooyen and Campbell Chesser.

Towering forward Jacob van Rooyen ready to show his wares in AFL Academy  hitout
Jacob Van Rooyen playing for WA. (Photo: AFL)

196cm teenager Van Rooyen made an impression with Claremont at both colts and league level as a key pillar at both ends. However, his forward credentials are too strong to ignore.

He kicked four goals in the Tigers’ colts grand final loss to Swan Districts to make it 11 across the finals series.

Van Rooyen had back-to-back 22 disposals games late in the season, kicking six and five goals respectively and taking 16 marks across the pair of matches.

He has an unmistakable forward presence that would add to the Fremantle offensive end. If they can’t snag Amiss, Van Rooyen is an equally enviable option.

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