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The stats files: Is this the solution to Dockers' scoring?

Brennan Cox could be the answer to Fremantle's woes up forward - AFL,Stats Files
Brennan Cox could be the answer to Fremantle's woes up forward

FREMANTLE might finally have the answer to its giant-sized hole in attack.

None of Shane Kersten, Cam McCarthy or Matt Taberner has consistently capitalised in the post-Matthew Pavlich era, or even as the all-time great's sidekick in his twilight years.

Kersten is a defender now, once-promising former Giant McCarthy is playing alongside him in the WAFL and Taberner is injured, although, at age 24, was beginning to blossom.

Instead, it's a second-season swingman who looks primed to be Pavlich's successor.

That isn't necessarily a kneejerk reaction to Brennan Cox's breakout, best-on-ground performance in the youth-laden Dockers' three-point defeat of Adelaide at Optus Stadium on Sunday, either.

Cox was superb against the Crows: 19 disposals, seven marks (two contested and four inside 50), four goals, seven score involvements and five tackles.

The 19-year-old's accurate outing belied his AFL track record, which stood at 8.17 in his previous 15 games, as well as two complete misses, so a new goalkicking routine may have done the trick.

He had kicked multiple goals only once in that period before his weekend outburst, but that partly owed to his waywardness in front of the big sticks.

Giving hope that Cox, a former basketballer, can correct his goalkicking woes is the fact he booted 20.8 across 11 SANFL reserves games in 2016 before being the No.41 draft pick.

The 193cm Woodville-West Torrens product, the latest NAB AFL Rising Star nominee, stacks up quite well with some of the game's best key forwards through their first 16 matches.

That all starts with his impressive contested marking ability that has him top five in the competition this year on average among those who have played more than one game.

Cox also rates elite for his 1.2 goal assists per match this season. 

Player

Contested marks

Marks

Marks inside 50

Goals

1-on-1 win %

Scoring accuracy

Brennan Cox

27

82

20

12

32.7

37.5

Taylor Walker

9

68

35

27

N/A

49.1

Joe Daniher

27

93

28

17

26.9

40.5

Cam McCarthy

8

64

35

33

22.0

66.0

Matt Taberner

11

63

14

14

28.3

58.3

Tom Hawkins

21

74

40

23

N/A

54.8

Jeremy Cameron

26

80

31

29

26.8

58.0

Jarryd Roughead

7

66

7

6

N/A

58.0

Jesse Hogan

41

114

42

36

35.4

63.2

Charlie Dixon

9

38

10

9

14.3

36.0

Jack Darling

24

76

17

13

N/A

56.5

Travis Cloke

10

55

10

11

N/A

34.4

Jonathan Brown

10

53

N/A

10

N/A

N/A

Fremantle development coach Roger Hayden, who played 128 games for the club, has watched Cox go from a "pretty raw young fella" into a "pretty special" prospect.

Proving he can back up his career-best game across a gruelling AFL season is the next challenge for Cox, according to Hayden.

"He's grown exceptionally the last couple of years. He came in pretty raw and was used as a defender early, then moved forward," Hayden told AFL.com.au.

"He showed glimpses early in the season and you could always see what he could do moving forward and competing and taking a mark.

"But just his awareness and skill and movement as a big man is pretty special."

Gold Coast lays an egg

The under-fire Suns created history for all the wrong reasons in their 108-point loss to Greater Western Sydney on Saturday.

Gold Coast became the first side to fail to take a mark inside 50 since Champion Data first recorded the statistic in 2003 after having just one in round nine against Port Adelaide.

Stuart Dew's men also had the worst first-half contested possession differential (minus-45) since 1999 and finished minus-51, the equal 17th-worst differential ever.

Their total disposal differential of minus-176 was also the 13th-worst recorded and their groundball-get differential of minus-47 was the equal eighth-worst.

The Suns have lost 19 quarters in a row, the equal fourth-most in VFL/AFL history, going back to 1897.

Gazza catches Mitch

Geelong superstar Gary Ablett's retro masterclass against North Melbourne on Saturday was not only a reminder of his lasting ability, but saw him equal a record.

Ablett's 34 disposals gave him at least 30 for the fifth time in 2018 and the 121st occasion of his brilliant career, which matches retired Hawthorn champion Sam Mitchell.

Magpie midfielder Scott Pendlebury is the closest active player to that benchmark, some 25 30-plus games in arrears.

The competition's modern ball magnets – Patrick Dangerfield (51), Tom Mitchell (44) and Jack Macrae (42) – are a long way back, but have time on their side.

ACTIVE AFL PLAYERS

30+ DISPOSAL GAMES

Gary Ablett jnr

121

Scott Pendlebury

96

Josh P. Kennedy

71

Joel Selwood

69

Tom Rockliff

59

Brendon Goddard

58

Marc Murphy

57

Dan Hannebery

57

Andrew Gaff

56

Jordan Lewis

56