WHO IS Fremantle's Jack Redden?

The Dockers will ask themselves that question after a dramatic NAB AFL Trade Period that should solve their forward woes but exacerbated the midfield problem. 

Redden's strong campaign this year was part of the reason West Coast's questioned on-ball brigade – at least in the pre-season – was instead a strength in its march to the premiership. 

Fresh Fremantle additions Jesse Hogan and Rory Lobb, both of whom the club tried unsuccessfully to woo two years ago, deliver Ross Lyon's side a genuine one-two punch in attack.

Hogan, in particular, will carry the Matthew Pavlich successor burden, but raising the bar on the past two seasons won't be hard.

Cam McCarthy's 25 and 19 goals led the Dockers' key forwards in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

The key defensive stocks are well looked after, too, with Alex Pearce, Joel Hamling, Luke Ryan, Griffin Logue, Taylin Duman and swingman Brennan Cox. 

Cox also joins McCarthy, Matt Taberner and Hugh Dixon as a tall forward option.

On the flipside, Fremantle's already-middling midfield suddenly faces a significant test with dual Doig medallist Lachie Neale departing for Brisbane. 

This makes for concerning reading for Freo fans, given the heavy reliance on Neale, who averaged 30.3 disposals (15 contested), 7.1 clearances, 4.2 tackles and 3.5 inside 50s this year.

As an example, the Eagles and Melbourne had six players above 200 centre attendances, while Collingwood and Richmond (minus Shaun Grigg) boasted seven with 155 or more and Greater Western Sydney six.

Among non-finalists, Adelaide managed at least 175 attendances from six footballers. 

Making the Dockers' short rotation more worrying is that superstar captain Nat Fyfe's season ended early for the second time in three seasons and ever-reliable David Mundy turns 33 in July. 

Their last finals campaign in 2015 paints a clear picture of where they need to improve if they expect to be a surprise finalist next year.

Fremantle's differentials by year

 STATISTIC  2015  2016  2017  2018 
 Disposals +20.3 (4th) -28.2 (16th) -40.6 (18th) -25.5 (16th)
 Cont. poss. +9.8 (1st) -7 (14th) -10.6 (17th)  -9.2 (17th)
 Uncont. poss. +12.1 (6th) -23.5 (16th)  -32.4 (18th)  -13.3 (13th) 
 Clearances +7.8 (1st) +0.9 (7th) -0.1 (9th) -0.2 (10th)
 Clearance scores  +12.9 (3rd) -7 (14th) -5 (15th) -5.2 (15th)
 Hit-outs to adv. +11.8 (1st)  +0.3 (9th) +0.9 (6th) +2.1 (5th)
 Inside 50s +5.4 (4th)  -8.2 (14th)  -5.5 (15th)  -6.8 (16th) 

One thing this table indicates is that Aaron Sandilands was still at the peak of his powers in 2015 and, more importantly, played 23 games.

Sandilands made five, 10 and 11 appearances, respectively, in the following three seasons, robbing the midfield of its armchair ride. 

Sean Darcy's development and Lobb's arrival, with Sandilands still there as well, should mean the ruck will again be an asset.

More pressing is who will be at their feet, besides 2015 Brownlow medallist Fyfe and 294-gamer Mundy?

Connor Blakely looms as the obvious candidate for a significant increase in centre-square opportunities. 

Blakely showed promise at half-back, but he was drafted as a midfielder and had a seven-week streak of double-digit contested possessions at one stage last year. 

The 22-year-old will be entering his fifth season in the AFL and his experiences as a tagger should serve him well.

Bailey Banfield already carried a big load in his first year, while natural improvement could see Andrew Brayshaw and Adam Cerra, the No.2 and No.5 draft picks in 2017, perform big roles. 

They, along with Blakely, could be the barometers. 

Another option for Lyon is to turn more to Stephen Hill, who had 200-plus centre attendances in 2016 and 2017 before only 30 this past season, and goalsneak Michael Walters. 

Walters looked a genuine midfield star for a period last year after Lyon sent him there to stir him into action. 

He racked up 38 touches against the Tigers, 27 and three goals at Carlton's expense, 28 and two majors in a loss to Geelong, then 32 and six goals in an enormous performance against St Kilda.   

Walters' gaudy contested numbers in those four outings were 15, 14, 12 and 18. 

So there are options for Fremantle, but there is no shying away from the fact the midfield is where the club's fortunes will be decided.