Before the Game with Snaps Truly

During the regular AFL(M) season, our regular footy scribe, Snaps Truly, reports on the on-field successes and failures of the mighty Freo Dockers in our regular feature, After the Game with Snaps Truly.

Some seasons are easier on a footy scribe than others. 2022, for example, was a lot easier than 2023.

The big question right now for us all is: What does season 2024, a leap year, hold in store for the boys in purple and white, and their coaches, loved ones and supporters?

So, our Editor put this burning question to Snaps for his take on where things are at for the Freo Dockers ahead of the AFL ‘Opening Round’ starting next Thursday, 7 March 2024. Yes, next Thursday, 7 March 2024 – although Freo don’t get to play their first game until ‘Round 1’ on 16 March v Lachie Neale.

Here are the pearls that fell from Snaps’ lips.

There really is nothing like the promise of a new season to remind fans of the blessing of a short memory.

It is universally accepted that everyone is burning up the track. The injury-plagued legends have miraculously turned back the clock. The recruits are already looking like “steals” whether they came to us as pick 18 or Supplementary D list Rookie train-on pick 207.

The rangy boys blooded over the past two seasons have been in the gym all summer and are now ten feet across the shoulders and living on a diet of raw liver.

And those on the fringes, fighting for their very football lives, have happily beaten each other near to death in one-on-one contests on and off the field, just to prove to the boss they have what it takes and aren’t frightened to put their head over the ball.

G’day everyone, Snaps Truly here, having just returned from a summer at Cockburn and then a Saturday night at Lathlain Park watching Freo’s pre-season match simulation against the team formerly known as West Coast, but now re-named the Harley Reid’s.

It’s an old trick from dodgy State schools of course, where the ones with the worst reputations suddenly reinvent themselves for a new year as Triumph College or the Not Shit Academy in the hope society forgets how rubbish they were last time.

Freo had no such difficulty recognising that nothing had changed. Those poor kids were still wearing the same hand me down uniforms of 2023 and already looked late with their homework.

Right from the outset, Nat Fyfe, having wisely left the forward line to return to the midfield, managed to thread handballs through the eye of a needle, remarkably inside the eye of another needle to send the ball into attack again and again.

Waiting for it, and taking big marks or putting on blocks or simply running beautiful lead patterns to bring Harley Reid defenders up field and open space behind them, were the big men.

And Cyclone Tracey, and Nev Amiss and Dogga Unicorn Jackson did as they pleased.

The key word here is connection apparently. Last year we didn’t really have it. This year it looks like we do. The Harley Reids still use dial up, so wistfully await the arrival of broadband.

What else? Oh yeah, Matt Taberner had a bit of a run around too which is always nice to see. A bit like the quiet reassurance of going to the bowling club and knowing that old Phil behind the bar is still alive and pouring, despite rumours to the contrary.

Do you remember that other bloke on our half forward line last year? He took some great marks, kicked a few goals and then buggered off? Anyway, the name will or won’t come to me anytime soon. My attention was taken by his replacement Tom Emmett, who is already a fan favourite and I reckon we should sign him up for ten years and a princely sum, even if he’s no good, just to make the other bloke wince and question his own loyalty.

I tell you who else got us excited. The Kid wearing the Pav Number 29 – we’re already calling him a lock for the NAB Rising Star, because he looks good in the jumper, his name is Cooper and he seems intuitive and quick. Mums who really shouldn’t, were heard murmuring dreamy inappropriate things and the young fella will surely be invited for more lasagna and salad dinners than he can eat.

All in all. A good night.

Port Adelaide this weekend will offer something sterner.

Some of you – and thanks for the cards – will remember there was a time during the 2023 season in which I was absent – in Italy as a patient at the famous Sanatorio per gli Illusi in Florence – the Sanatorium of the Deluded. There I was treated for a condition called malattia dei sognatori or Dreamer’s Disease.

I can’t pretend there might not be a relapse in 2024, but my memories of that time have all but disappeared.

There’s nothing like the promise of a new season.

* Snaps Truly is our multi-talented and amazingly insightful footy scribe. Snaps has seen and done it all. He may or may not have been a fringe player at Fremantle. Don’t miss Snaps’ report after each Freo Dockers match throughout the coming season.


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