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Dockers stronger in 2019 despite loss of star midfielder: Banfield

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Published by Staff Writers, 12th November 2018 on Foxsports.com.au

WHILE the loss of Lachie Neale is an undeniable reality facing Fremantle, the inclusions of Jesse Hogan and Rory Lobb will strengthen the team, says Bailey Banfield.

Neale was one of the shock moves of the trade period, with the star midfielder requesting a trade to Brisbane.

But the Dockers landed two key forwards, who should theoretically ameliorate the club’s scoring issues.

Banfield, who played 20 games in his first season at Fremantle in 2018, was optimistic the club would improve next season.

“Lachie’s obviously a loss, but we’ve got a couple of new blokes coming in,” Banfield said.

“And then you’ve got Aaron (Sandilands) running around and (Nat Fyfe), too.

“So I think we’ll still be really strong as a midfield group.

“Having (Andrew Brayshaw) and Adam (Cerra) as well running through there will give us a bit of youth hopefully so I think we’ll look to keep improving.”

Only Carlton and the Gold Coast Suns kicked fewer points than Fremantle this year.

But Banfield was confident the inclusions of Melbourne’s Hogan and GWS’ Lobb would ensure the club was more prolific in that area.

“You’ve got two absolute superstars of the competition coming in, both really strong overhead and both with their own strengths and I think any time you add a couple of guns to your team is a bonus,” Banfield said.

“I think it’s something fans can really, really look forward to and something as a club, the playing group is really looking forward to playing and training with these blokes.”

Banfield was a key cog in Fremantle’s best 22 last season, with the mature age recruit given a plethora of roles from coach Ross Lyon.

While the 20-year-old said he’d enjoy more time as a pure ball winner, he was cognisant his versatility was pivotal to his selection.

“I’ll play wherever Ross plays me. If I can get a run through the midfield that would be awesome,” Banfield said.

“I probably played more games than what I was expecting and what (Lyon) was expecting so that’s always a positive, getting those games under your belt.

“I think that playing the lock down roll gives me is versatility where Ross can play me forward, play me in the midfield as a normal midfielder or put me in there in a lock down.”

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