Justin Longmuir speaks to his players during Fremantle's clash against Brisbane in round one, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

FREMANTLE coach Justin Longmuir has dismissed critics of his recent contract extension, declaring he would value the opinions of those inside the club who understood how he works.

Longmuir last week agreed to a one-year contract extension to the end of 2025, while also restructuring his 2024 deal with the Dockers in an arrangement that provided the fifth-year coach with better security.

The announcement was questioned both for the length of the deal and its timing on the eve of round one, but Longmuir said he did not place stock in critics who levelled criticism without understanding the background of the agreement or his methods as a coach.  

"It's pretty easy to have shots from across the other side of the country," Longmuir said on Wednesday.

"I value the people who see me go to work every day and see how I act inside the club. 

"People want to have shots like that from across the country, not really knowing the background, I don't really get caught up in that. It doesn't really affect me. 


"What I value is the people who see me go to work, the players, the footy department, the club, they see me go to work every day, they see my messaging to the players, they see my relationships, they see the culture we're building here. That's the opinion I go on." 

Fresh from a confidence-boosting win against grand finalist Brisbane in round one, the Dockers have significant selection decisions to make this week after injuries to defenders Brennan Cox (hamstring), Oscar McDonald (knee) and Karl Worner (concussion)

The club is yet to receive clarity on McDonald's injury, with swelling and soreness preventing surgeons from making an accurate assessment of the damage and determining whether it would be a medium or long-term injury. 


Young key defenders Josh Draper and Hugh Davies are both in the mix this week to take on North Melbourne, with Longmuir conceding the club needed to find a long-term solution to Cox and McDonald's absence. 

"We're not going to get 'Coxy' or Oscar back next week, or the week after, so we've got to have a plan for the next month or maybe the rest of the year, so it's not just a short-term decision," he said. 

"[Draper] has had a great pre-season, and 'Hughy' has had a great pre-season as well. They've been playing key position at Peel for all of last year and playing on our key forwards across pre-season.

"Both of them will come into the mix and both of them have improved a lot since the back end of last year with another pre-season under their belts, so they're well placed if they get an opportunity."

Josh Draper looks on during Fremantle's official team photo day on January 16, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

The Dockers will also consider shifting Luke Ryan into a tall backline role, but the coach showed some reluctance to shifting midfielder Hayden Young into his former backline role this week. 

"We thought he was going well in the midfield [against Brisbane] and we wanted to maintain the rage through there … then obviously with the two injuries we threw 'Youngy' back," Longmuir said. 

"So 'Youngy' is an option if we feel like we need a bit more bounce back there, but we've got to balance up getting the midfield mix right as well. 

"I've spoken about getting the midfield right all pre-season and when the midfield is right it does help the backs out."

Brandon Walker has done enough physically to return from a significant knee injury against North Melbourne, with the Dockers now weighing up whether his form is at the level required. 

The match committee will also consider ruckman Liam Reidy, allowing star Luke Jackson to go forward, or calling on one of Pat Voss or Matt Taberner to replace Cox, who was used in attack against the Lions.