Curses abound around Dock­ers

Cockburn Gazette - - SPORT - Bryce Luff

ARE the Dock­ers cursed? Sports curses are noth­ing new. From the “Curse of the Bam­bino” held over the Bos­ton Red Sox for decades to the Soc­ceroos hir­ing a witch doc­tor to help them qual­ify for the 1970 World Cup.

Plenty spec­u­late they are more com­monly at play than we think.

For Fre­man­tle, af­ter two decades with­out a pre­mier­ship, it is a ques­tion I ask my­self with an in­creas­ing level of se­ri­ous­ness.

Re­mem­ber when people used to talk about the an­chor on Fre­man­tle’s jer­seys weigh­ing them down?

I laughed it off be­fore my eyes darted to­wards the pave­ment to of­fer the no­tion some se­ri­ous con­sid­er­a­tion.

An em­blem-in­duc­ing curse? Surely not I’d tell my­self.

In 2011, the Dock­ers ditched the an­chor and I knew, thank­fully, it was a ques­tion I would never have to an­swer again.

In 2013, a pre­mier­ship went beg­ging; in­ac­cu­racy a big in­gre­di­ent in a grand fi­nal loss that still tastes as sour as it did af­ter the fi­nal siren.

The Dock­ers fin­ished 8.14 (62) to Hawthorn’s 11.11 (77) that day.

The port city club was 1.6 at half time.

Dur­ing the home and away sea­son, the Dock­ers fin­ished with a pos­i­tive goal to be­hind ra­tio 17 times.

So was a scor­ing curse in play that day?

Fre­man­tle’s form in front of goal had dipped dur­ing the fi­nals, with the Dock­ers scor­ing more be­hinds than goals in all three fi­nals ap­pear­ances.

I will put their poor show­ing on the AFL’s big­gest stage down to the added in­ten­sity on grand fi­nal day and an un­be­liev­able team at the other end in Hawthorn, al­though there were some bad misses.

In 2015, Nat Fyfe stamped him­self as the best player in the league by win­ning a Brown­low Medal.

Fre­man­tle, while not fly­ing by the end of the reg­u­lar sea­son, se­cured top spot and an­other pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal.

They were on top of the (AFL) world and an­other grand fi­nal ap­pear­ance beck­oned.

But all that would even­tu­ally be un­done by Hawthorn, who trounced the Dock­ers by 27 points.

And Fyfe? Well he had to play out the game on a frac­tured leg. A curse? I will give it some thought while also ac­knowl­edg­ing Hawthorn, again, were an in­cred­i­ble side.

This sea­son promised to be an­other fruit­ful one for the Dock­ers af­ter they re­cruited Har­ley Ben­nell from Gold Coast.

The mid­fielder was set to bol­ster a strong group of on­ballers while adding some much-needed fire­power up for­ward.

Things would even­tu­ally fail to pan out pos­i­tively for the 23-yearold af­ter he was ruled out for the year with calf com­plaints. An in­jury curse? Well, not in iso­la­tion and not when you con­sider calf in­juries are some­thing Ben­nell ex­pe­ri­enced at his for­mer club.

But Michael Bar­low’s frac­tured fin­ger might have some be­liev­ing.

Bar­low has been back to his best over the last month, but a bro­ken digit will keep him out for just as long.

With him out of ac­tion, Fre­man­tle has 19 troops un­avail­able for play­ing duty, and their un­der­stud­ies at Peel are drop­ping like flies.

Clancee Pearce would have come in for con­sid­er­a­tion to re­place Bar­low, but he too was in­jured play­ing for the Thun­der. So are the Dock­ers cursed? I can­not say for sure. What is cer­tain is the Dock­ers could use a lit­tle di­vine in­ter­ven­tion to bal­ance out what has been an un­for­tu­nate year on the in­jury front.

Pic­ture: Paul Kane

Michael Bar­low against Port Ade­laide ear­lier in the sea­son.

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