The Fremantle Dockers have not fared too badly without Ryan Crowley this season and the current AFL leaders now know they will be without his services for the rest of the 2015 campaign. The veteran was suspended for a year for breaching the league’s anti-doping rules in July last year. The 31-year-old’s ban has been backdated to September 25 of last year, ruling the midfielder out for the rest of the regular season, although there is a chance he could return for the last two weeks of the Finals. In his absence, Fremantle have been the in-form team during the early stages of the campaign, with the likes of Nat Fyfe, David Mundy and Michael Barlow all stepping up and playing crucial roles in the club’s formidable start to the year.
Crowley was punished by the doping authorities after testing positive for the painkiller containing methadone, in a matter the club had initially refused to publicly talk about, and was handed a 10-week suspension at the start of this season pending a tribunal. The three- person panel could have slapped Crowley with a two-year ban but opted for a lesser punishment based on the midfielder’s claim that he ingested the substance through a painkiller given to him by someone from outside the Dockers. With his contract expiring at the end of the season, it is looking increasingly likely that the competitive tagger’s 10-year Fremantle career could be over.
In what has been a colourful Dockers career, Crowley’s highlight will undoubtedly be winning the club’s best and fairest award in 2012 in a season in which he racked up 355 disposals and 88 tackles. While Fremantle fans will remember the midfielder’s exploits from that year fondly, it will be Crowley’s ruthless approach to how he adapted to the role of tagger in the Dockers team which will be the veteran’s lasting legacy at the club. It remains to be seen whether Crowley will find another team when he is inevitably allowed to leave Fremantle, and we may have seen the last of the ten-year professional in the AFL. He might not have been at his best last season but the midfielder showed that he is still a very capable player in this league and someone who could be worth taking a punt on.
For betting fans visiting http://www.bet365.com/news/en/betting, Fremantle look like a very decent bet to go all the way this season even without the services of a player who has been an important part of the team for the past decade. In Nathan Fyfe, the Dockers have a player who looks to be heading for the Brownlow Medal after an incredible start to the season in the Fremantle midfield, and the club’s future looks extremely bright as they prepare to wave goodbye to a part of its past. While it might be too early for Dockers fans to be getting too excited about Grand Finals, if their talented youngsters can continue to perform as they have been then there is nothing to say this could not finally be the year the club win the game’s ultimate prize.