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Forward failures has Dockers as the outsiders at home

IF A TEAM claims the minor premiership and then wins its qualifying final to earn a week off, you would expect it to start as the overwhelming favourite in its home preliminary final.

But this is Fremantle, which is still yet to convince the football world it can get the job done when it really matters, and is quoted at as much as $2.40 in some betting markets to beat a rejuvenated Hawthorn ($1.57) this Friday night at Domain Stadium.

It boils down to the Dockers' lack of scoring power - they've topped 100 points just once in their past 15 outings. It is a problem they've been trying to rectify for years without success, and looks like persisting.

Travis Cloke (Collingwood), Jack Riewoldt (Richmond), Lance Franklin (Sydney), and even Mitch Clark (Geelong), Aaron Black (North) and Jay Schulz (Port), as recently as Saturday, have all snubbed big offers to join the club, while one who does want to pull on the purple, WA boy Cam McCarthy, is unlikely to while he's contracted to GWS.

Current Docker Matt Taberner (14 goals in 14 games), meanwhile, has struggled to step up.

The Dockers did attract a couple of former top-three draft picks in Scott Gumbleton and Colin Sylvia, but their plan to take the pressure of an ageing Matthew Pavlich and smalls Michael Walters and Hayden Ballantyne failed dismally.

Gumbleton's injury woes followed him from Essendon while Sylvia's fresh start came to a brutal end. After playing six games for one goal in 2014 and labouring through pre-season training heading into 2015, the 29-year-old's workrate "wasn't at the level required" and he and club parted ways without him adding to his games this season.

And it's why the retired Sylvia wins his fourth-straight jumper in our annual Undies line-up ... for the players who have most underachieved, named ahead of the All-Australian side's announcement tomorrow night.

Ironically, he's joined by Cloke for the second-year running, and West Australian Black who, after being usurped at the Kangaroos by Jarrad Waite, may have wished he'd taken up Fremantle's offer. He might have been playing this weekend.

Colin Sylvia.
Colin Sylvia.

THE UNDIES - The AFL's biggest underachievers of 2015  

BACKS:

Chris Yarran (CARL) Played 14 games due to suspensions and form.  

Michael Talia (WB) Continually outmuscled by opponents, then overtaken by teammate Fletcher Roberts.  

David Astbury (RICH) Stung firstly by a stingray in March and then his dumping by the coach in May.  

HALFBACKS:

Nick Malceski (GC) Topped 20 disposals 19 times in 2014 as an All-Australian Swan but just three in 2015 as a Sun.  

Jake Carlisle (ESS) Failed as a tall forward and looked disinterested as a key defender.  

Heritier Lumumba (MELB) Disappointing first year with the Demons, enduring worst output since 2007.  

MIDFIELDERS: 

Adam Cooney (ESS) The big-name recruit played 11 games and hadn't averaged so few disposals (17) since his debut season.  

Scott Selwood (WC) Battling an ankle injury, the 2012 best-and-fairest has averaged just 14 touches.  

Clinton Young (COLL) The premiership Hawk was confined to Magpies' seconds before his delisting.  

HALF FORWARDS:

Will Hoskin-Elliot (GWS) The livewire struggled with shoulder injury, booting three goals in 11 games. He kicked five in the final game of 2014.  

Travis Cloke (COLL) Kicked three goals in the last three months of footy for a total of just 34 in 17 games.  

Colin Sylvia (FREM) Played no games after forced retirement in April.    

FORWARDS:

Aaron Black (NM)  Kicked one goal from three games after booting 33 in 2013 and signing big four-year deal with the Roos.  

Liam Jones (CARL) 'The Beast' responded to a three-year contract with seven goals in nine outings.  

Jed Lamb (GWS) Two games, two goals, two tackles ... far too few for the former Swan goalsneak.  

FOLLOWERS

Will Minson (WB) The out-of-favour 2013 All- Australian played 10 games.  

Harley Bennell (GC) Wasted talent. Played only 15 games for the third-straight year due to off-field issues.   

Will Langford (HAW) The star of 2014 finals series has faded in 2015.  

INTERCHANGE: 

Ayce Cordy (WB) Finally stayed injury-free but couldn't stay in the seniors, despite getting a good run, and eventually delisted after 27 games across seven years.  

Chris Dawes (MELB) Kicked only 11 goals in 14 games, failing to give Jesse Hogan adequate support.  

Sam Mayes (BL) The crafty half-forward kicked just two goals and averaged 14 disposals in 14 games.  

Trent McKenzie (GC) 'The Cannon' self-imploded, averaging a career-low 12 touches out of half back.  


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