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Concerns on Fremantle Dockers forward line, draw with Richmond Tigers, without Rory Lobb, small forwards, premiership race, finals contenders

Can Fremantle go all the way in 2022 with their current forward line?

It’s the main threat from Fox Footy pundits to Justin Longmuir’s team in Friday night’s game against Richmond at Marvel Stadium.

Leading goalkeeper Rory Lobb (shoulder) is out against the Tigers and playmaker Nate Fyfe, who has been sidelined with a hamstring injury, has played as a makeshift striker as the Dockers struggle to score and are short on goalkeepers.

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Stunned by a 7.10 conversion to finish with 52 points under the Docklands roof – that included both sides kicking just seven goals each on the night.

Aside from Lobb (30 goals this season), who is expected to move to the Western Bulldogs at the end of the season, four of Frio’s next top five goalies are small forwards in Lachie Schultz (23 goals), Michael Frederick (19 goals), Bailey Banfield. (18 goals) and Michael Walters (12 goals).

And speaking Fox Footy Live After the game, Geelong legend Cameron Mooney believes he is a major threat ahead of the club’s September campaign.

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“I think they absolutely struggled without Rory. He is extremely important to them,” he said.

“I’ve seen their forward line going into the finals… it worries me, not if I’m a strong defender.

“Yeah, Rory can handle something big, we didn’t see him in the final so we don’t know.

“(Matt) Taberner has had a lot of ups and downs for someone with his talent, so we didn’t see him in the finals either.

They rely heavily on their small forwards to score the winning points and that’s a tough thing to do in the final minute.

“Come finals, I’m really interested to see how they play as a forward because I still have questions about them.

“Rory will step up and have a shot if it comes to the end. But can he do it?”

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The Dockers had a fourth quarter surge against Richmond, including a 15-4 lead and a 16-9 lead inside 50s, but were unable to capitalize on their chances in the second half.

“They had everything on their end,” Demons great Gary Loane said on Fox Footy.

“You will not find one presence in that future 50.

“Griffin Logue must have got his hands on six, I’m conservative, six catches in that forward 50 and I couldn’t wrap them up. Taberner had the same night we all had – he just couldn’t get to the end of them.

While Fremantle are more recognized for their defence, they are ranked ninth for points conceded – the lowest of the current top eight teams – after their 52-point performance against the Tigers followed last week’s 65-point loss to Sydney.

Triple premiership-winning Lions Jonathan Brown, however, pointed out that the Demons claimed last year’s flag without a powerful attack.

“Melbourne had almost no star-studded forward line. Fritsch kicked six in the grand final. It’s probably the equivalent of Melbourne’s front line, Fremantle’s front line,” he said.

Friday night’s result means Frio is now 5-1-4 in its last 10 games.

Despite picking up two points for the draw, the third-placed Dockers’ place in the top four is suddenly under threat as Brisbane await the results of their clash with Gold Coast and Collingwood’s clash with Essendon.

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