Fremantle has signalled their intention to chase a key forward this off-season. Four targets have been identified publicly: in Jake Carlisle, Charlie Dixon, Aaron Black and Cameron McCarthy.
There are positives and negatives to each player, which ultimately may decide which player the Dockers chase hardest.
Why he’s the best option: Dixon has those flashes of brilliance. He can work as key forward, chop out in the ruck and move down back. The Dockers need smart, hard-working players up forward who can reliably kick 40 goals as a key forward, year in, year out.
Dixon is the type to be able to kick at least two goals a game, but most importantly, he is unselfish and will look to get the small forwards more touches around goals. He also seems to be very attainable this off-season, as the Suns have other options in Peter Wright and Tom Lynch, plus he’s fallen out of favour somewhat given his off-field escapades.
Why the Dockers shouldn’t consider him: Dixon hasn’t played a full season in his time at the Suns. Premiership contenders cannot afford to lose a player on $600,000 or more to a season ending injury. Whilst his club-imposed suspensions aren’t that serious when you think about it, it’s undisciplined and disappointing from someone who should be a leader. The Dockers took a chance on Colin Sylvia and look how that turned out. They might be in different boats, but Ross Lyon cannot accept anyone with the wrong mindset.
Why he’s the best option: Carlisle can be an incredible player under a tough coach. He doesn’t lead hard when he thinks he won’t get the ball, but Lyon could instil a team-first work ethic. With the kind of delivery he would get at the Dockers, he could improve to be a 40-50 goal a year forward. With Luke McPharlin also near the end, Carlisle would be a perfect replacement down back.
His contested marking is a strength, and you only need to look at his patch of form late last year with his 19-mark effort against Collingwood and his eight goal haul against the Western Bulldogs last season to see he has immense talent. The Dockers could quite easily persuade him to move across, so he can get out of the media spotlight and move towards success.
Why the Dockers shouldn’t consider him: Is he really a good key forward? He doesn’t really understand leading patterns and certainly hasn’t done much this year to show that he deserves to be paid more than $300,000 a year. He can be lazy at times, and the Dockers need a proven key forward, rather than someone who has played their best football as a defender.
Why he’s the best option: McCarthy, despite having played less than 15 games, has probably shown as much as any of these guys. McCarthy is efficient and he can play either as the main option or as a complimentary forward. He understands where to lead to, and his motor continues to increase. With that considered, as well as his terrific overhead marking, McCarthy could have the best of both worlds, and play as a Nick Riewoldt-type or as a stay at home forward.
Why the Dockers shouldn’t consider him: There isn’t much the Dockers could offer that would make the Giants strongly consider a trade offer. He is as much of an untouchable as Jeremy Cameron. Despite having James Stewart, Adam Tomlinson and Jonathon Patton in the wings, McCarthy can’t be traded after his year so far.
Why he’s the best option: Simply put, he is the most replaceable of the Kangaroos forwards. With the signs Ben Brown is showing, the Dockers may only need to trade a talented depth player like Tom Sheridan and perhaps a swap of picks to bring Black over. He also won’t burden the salary cap like the other three forwards would. He seems the most likely option to move.
Why the Dockers shouldn’t consider him: Do we even know if he is good? The Dockers traded for Scott Gumbleton and Jack Anthony not too long ago. Anthony never returned to form and Gumbleton was exactly who everyone thought he would be – too injury-plagued to find continuity. Black, whilst not as injury prone as Gumbleton, is in a similar boat. The Dockers should be putting a strong offer to an established key forward. Plus, Port Adelaide is interested, which would drive up Black’s price towards the $450,000 mark.