FREMANTLE has become the only team to finish a NAB AFLW season undefeated, albeit an abridged version.
While we were robbed of seeing the Dockers take on some of the other premier sides due to the cancelled season, there's no questioning the effort involved in winning seven straight games.
The 70-point semi-final victory – although against a tired, travel-worn Gold Coast – was imperious and an impressive way to cap off a highly successful season.
Over the next two weeks, womens.afl will look at each of the seasons of the 14 AFLW teams, kicking off proceedings with Adelaide and moving alphabetically from there.
Coach: Trent Cooper
Leadership group: Kara Antonio (captain), Kiara Bowers (vice-captain), Ebony Antonio, Hayley Miller, Gabby O'Sullivan
2020 finishing position: First in Conference B, six wins, zero losses, 154.7%. Qualified for a preliminary final against Melbourne.
Best win: Fremantle 7.8 (50) defeated Brisbane 4.8 (32)
Which one do you choose? The win against the Dogs was regarded as one of the best games we've seen, but the victory over the previously undefeated Lions in round five just gets over the line. The Dockers were commanding, taking the lead halfway through the first quarter and never looked back.
Best individual performance: Sabreena Duffy had a few quiet games, but when she was on, there was no stopping her. Against Brisbane in round five, Duffy ran riot, kicking 4.4 from 10 disposals and taking five marks along the way.
Club best and fairest candidates: Kiara Bowers, Ebony Antonio, Gemma Houghton
NAB AFLW Rising Star nominations: Roxy Roux (round two)
Debutants: Janelle Cuthbertson, Sarah Garstone, Kate Flood, Emma O'Driscoll, Lindal Rhode, Roxy Roux, Jasmin Stewart, Mim Strom, Bianca Webb
Most improved: Midfielder Katie-Jayne Grieve was an unheralded part of Fremantle's engine room, spending more time in the centre in 2020. Grieve's work-rate and extra responsibility saw her average disposals and tackles rise from 4.2 and 2.4 to 10.6 and 7.3 this year.
Star recruit: She's got star power written all over her, and Roxy Roux had a strong debut season after being taken with pick 12 in the draft. The key forward/undersized second ruck missed just one game (rested) and kicked five goals, but her confidence and contested marking was what caught the eye.
Unsung hero: Mim Strom was the sole Fremantle ruck this season after Aine Tighe tore her ACL in a practice match, and she did it all at the age of just 18. Strom averaged 16.3 hitouts and seven disposals a game.
- The basics. Fremantle essentially stuck to its successful game plan from last year, not over-possessing the ball, playing on after marking and getting the ball inside 50 as quickly as possible. It's simple but very effective.
- The Dockers managed to turn over more than a third of their list without skipping a beat. The introduction of West Coast saw nine players move to the new team on the block, but with the exception of Dana Hooker, the Dockers covered the losses well.
What needs improvement:
- Not much, to be honest. The only hole that appeared was particularly apparent against the Western Bulldogs, who used Fremantle's gameplan against them to run-and-gun the ball forward. The defence looked susceptible when facing fast ball movement and conceded eight goals against a side who won only one game.
Season in a song: Thank u, next (Ariana Grande). While they didn't get the opportunity to play top-ranked sides Melbourne, Carlton and North Melbourne, the Dockers saw off every challenger they faced.
Early call for 2021: Most expected Fremantle to overcome an injury-hit Melbourne in its cancelled preliminary final and qualify for the big dance in 2020. The Dockers should be playing off for the first ever club flag in 2021.
Season rating: 10/10