A number of Fremantle fans noticed a potential change in game style as Freo played their first pre-season game under new senior coach Justin Longmuir.

In the wake of Fremantle’s 47-point win against Carlton in the Marsh Community Series, we take a look at some of the numbers that might show how Freo’s game style will look in 2020.

Keeping in mind that these numbers come from a small sample size – we’re taking stats from only one pre-season game and comparing them to the entire 2019 season, so any findings should come with a massive grain of salt!

To kick things off
It seems Fremantle will be a team that kicks a lot more under Justin Longmuir. Against Carlton, Fremantle totalled 245 kicks, compared to their 2019 season average of 216.
Their kick total was higher than any club’s average in 2019. Grand finalists GWS led the league with an average of 232 kicks per game in 2019.

 

Marsh Gm1

2019 season

2019 leaders (GWS)

Kicks

245

216

232

More kick means more marks
Freo’s 116 marks was also higher than any team’s 2019 average, with Collingwood leading the league with 104 marks in 2019.
In 2019, Freo averaged 85.5 marks, the second-lowest in the AFL. 

 

Marsh Gm1

2019 season

2019 leaders (Coll)

Marks

116

85.5

104

And less handballs
Opting to kick more means less handballs. Freo’s 136 handballs against Carlton would have ranked them 13th for handballs in 2019.
Freo’s average in 2019 was much higher, with an average of 158 handballs, ranking them sixth in the competition.
Stats boffin Ricky Mangidis also noted how Freo appear to be opting to kick more than handball in 2020.

Taking their time
Freo appear more likely to take their time after mark when looking to move the ball forwards.
Against the Blues, Freo seemed happy to opt for a short kick sideways or on the 45 as they looked for an opportunity to open further up the field.
Despite taking 31 more marks than their 2019 average, they played on from the mark less than they did in 2019.

 

2019 season

Marsh Gm1

Marks

85.5

116

Mark play on

20.2

18

Mark play on %

23.6

15.5

Up the guts
With Freo more willing to centre the ball, there was an apparent uptick in ball movement through the middle of the ground.
Fremantle went through the centre corridor 33 per cent of the time against the Blues, compared to 26.5 per cent of the time in 2019.

Hitting targets
After ranking last for kicking efficiency in 2019 at 60.9 per cent, Freo fans would be heartened to see a significant uptick in this stat to 66.1 per cent, a number that would have ranked Freo fifth in 2019.

 

Marsh Gm1

2019 season

2019 leaders (WCE)

Kicking eff %

66.1

60.9

67.6

It’s no surprise seeing a higher kicking efficiency from Freo with them being quite deliberate with their kicks against the Blues and appearing to frequently go with a shorter option. Again, it’s too early to tell if this is an outlier or a combination of a different game plan and improved skills.

06:34 Mins
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Marsh | Longmuir post-match v Carlton

Justin Longmuir spoke to the media following the win in their Marsh pre-season game on Saturday.

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