Fremantle forward Bailey Banfield tipping quick turnaround for ‘maturing’ Dockers against Collingwood

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Eliza ReillyThe West Australian
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Bailey Banfield is expecting his team to recover quickly from a shock loss to the Suns.
Camera IconBailey Banfield is expecting his team to recover quickly from a shock loss to the Suns. Credit: Daniel Carson/AFL Photos

Fremantle are embracing the chance to test their maturity and bounce back from their second loss of the season against Collingwood on Sunday.

The Dockers are still reviewing their shock 36-point loss to Gold Coast on Sunday which ended a six-game winning streak.

Fremantle’s biggest concern was their inability to compete in tight, losing clearances (46-30) and contested possessions (174-157).

That was despite the Dockers winning disposals (376-335), inside 50s (65-36), hit-outs (46-33) and marks (70-62).

Forward Bailey Banfield said they were planning an immediate response.

“It was a frustrating game. We had a lot of opportunities and we didn’t take them,” Banfield said.

“We’ve spoken about how we’re maturing as a playing group. We’ve been challenged in games and had to respond. This is a challenge for us to keep showing that maturing process.

“As a forward line I felt we were off a little bit off where we have been in previous weeks but it’s a long season and we learn from every game, win or loss. We probably learn more from the losses.”

Banfield has been a victim of Fremantle’s depth at stages this season, featuring in all nine games but starting five as medical sub.

But the 24-year-old believes he has a lot to offer.

Bailey Banfield of the Dockers kicks the ball during the 2022 AFL Round 09 match between the Gold Coast Suns and the Fremantle Dockers at Metricon Stadium.
Camera IconBailey Banfield of the Dockers kicks the ball during the 2022 AFL Round 09 match between the Gold Coast Suns and the Fremantle Dockers at Metricon Stadium. Credit: Russell Freeman/AFL Photos

“We’ve had really good availability up until the last couple of weeks as well. I’ve been really happy with how my game has gone, I feel like I’ve taken it to another level with my forward craft, which has been pleasing for me,” he said.

Sunday’s clash with the Magpies also marks the first weekend of Sir Doug Nicholls Indigenous Round.

Fremantle will run out in a guernsey designed by veteran Michael Walters and Pater Farmer.

Walters is set to become the first Fremantle AFL player to get the opportunity to wear his own design during a game.

“I’m so proud and honoured to play a part in designing an Indigenous jumper for Fremantle,” Walters told the club’s website.

Banfield said it was special to wear a jumper designed by Walters and, as a non-Indigenous Australian, he understood the importance of recognising Indigenous players and their contribution to the AFL.

Fremantle's Michael Walters models the jumper he designed for the club to wear in its Sir Doug Nicholls Round clash with Collingwood on Sunday.
Camera IconFremantle's Michael Walters models the jumper he designed for the club to wear in its Sir Doug Nicholls Round clash with Collingwood on Sunday. Credit: Fremantle Dockers

“I love Sir Doug Nicholls Round. It’s really important, not just for the Indigenous boys but for the whole community,” Banfield said.

“Reconciliation is a whole of Australia project, not just the Indigenous or non-Indigenous community

“At the club, we do a lot in the Indigenous space through our RAP (Reconciliation Action Plan) and player engagement.

“Learning more about Indigenous culture really connects you more strongly to the players who are Indigenous but also the broader community and the Indigenous community.

“The more we know about each other and the more common ground we have, the more the connection is going to be. That’s where the story telling aspect of Sir Doug Nicholls Round is really powerful for me.”

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