Fremantle are in a group of six clubs expert commentator Terry Wallace doesn’t rate heading into the 2019 season.
The Dockers received an influx of experienced talent through the trade period, including Jesse Hogan and Rory Lobb to fill the key forward posts.
Those acquisitions, along with midfielders Reece Conca and Travis Colyer, have buoyed a success-starved Purple Army after three seasons out of the finals.
But Wallace said Ross Lyon’s side was still too “flaky” to be trusted.
“I don’t rate Fremantle,” Wallace said.
“Even with the inclusions of the bigger blokes coming in, I’m not sure they can get enough supply to the bigger blokes to make the leap they believe they can.
“They’re flaky so I don’t trust them.”
Speaking on radio station SEN this week, Wallace said there were major question marks over a Fremantle midfield unit that has lost best-and-fairest winner Lachie Neale to Brisbane and seen Connor Blakely (hamstring) and Stephen Hill (quad) struck down by injury.
“I do worry when most of the players who you have recruited are forwards,” Wallace said.
“You’ve got still got to be able to get the ball to them.
“It looks better on paper because you’ve got Hogan and Lobb. That looks clearly a lot better on paper.
“You’ve lost Lachie Neale, I don’t think they’ll have enough midfield strength to be able to get enough opportunities into those bigger fellas.
“I’m expecting them to be better than what they were last year, but not a top-eight side.”
Wallace has this week broken down the 18 clubs into groups according to how he rated their prospects for the new season.
He put Gold Coast, St Kilda, the Western Bulldogs, Port Adelaide and last year’s wooden spooners Carlton in the same basket as Fremantle.
“I don’t rate Gold Coast,” Wallace said.
“Clearly they’re down and out with senior players.
“I don’t rate (Carlton) yet. I think they will be an improving side, but I don’t rate them yet.
“I don’t trust St Kilda. I don’t think their list is as good as the others. I’m worried about their rucks and some of the key position players.
“I don’t trust the Western Bulldogs. I don’t trust their big blokes. I think their run off half back is very good, but I don’t trust their spine and what they’re going to have in the ruck.
“And I don’t trust Port Adelaide. I just think they’re a flaky group and they’ve had a couple of key players leave. They’ve got some good kids in, but they’re kids and I don’t trust Port Adelaide.”
Wallace was confident about the chances of four teams – including premiers West Coast – playing finals.
Melbourne, Richmond and Collingwood were the others.
Wallace tipped Essendon, North Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide as big improvers but said he couldn’t get a read on Sydney, Geelong, Hawthorn and Greater Western Sydney.