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11:55am  Oct 16, 2018

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The stats files: Brennan Cox

afl.com.au  June 13, 2018 11:37 AM

Watch the Round 12 highlights of Brennan Cox which earned him a rising star nomination.

Fremantle might be looking at their next prolific key forward, writes Marc McGowan on afl.com.au in his Stats Files series.

That isn't necessarily a kneejerk reaction to Brennan Cox's breakout, best-on-ground performance in the youth-laden Dockers' three-point defeat of Adelaide at Optus Stadium on Sunday.

Cox was superb against the Crows: 19 disposals, seven marks (two contested and four inside 50), four goals, seven score involvements and five tackles.

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The 19-year-old's accurate outing belied his AFL track record, which stood at 8.17 in his previous 15 games, as well as two complete misses, so a new goalkicking routine may have done the trick.

He had kicked multiple goals only once in that period before his weekend outburst, but that partly owed to his waywardness in front of the big sticks.

Giving hope that Cox, a former basketballer, can correct his goalkicking is the fact he booted 20.8 across 11 SANFL reserves games in 2016 before being the No.41 draft pick.

The 193cm Woodville-West Torrens product, the latest NAB AFL Rising Star nominee, stacks up quite well with some of the game's best key forwards through their first 16 matches.

That all starts with his impressive contested marking ability that has him top five in the competition this year on average among those who have played more than one game.

Cox also rates elite for his 1.2 goal assists per match this season. 

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Fremantle development coach Roger Hayden, who played 128 games for the club, has watched Cox go from a "pretty raw young fella" into a "pretty special" prospect.

Proving he can back up his career-best game across a gruelling AFL season is the next challenge for Cox, according to Hayden.

"He's grown exceptionally the last couple of years. He came in pretty raw and was used as a defender early, then moved forward," Hayden told AFL.com.au.

"He showed glimpses early in the season and you could always see what he could do moving forward and competing and taking a mark.

"But just his awareness and skill and movement as a big man is pretty special."

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