OF ALL the examples of improvement you could pinpoint at Fremantle this season, it is arguable there has been none more impressive than the career-best football played by Rory Lobb in the wake of a failed trade request.

His year has certainly been a prime example of a player putting disappointment behind them and knuckling down like a professional when another path could easily have been taken.

It's created a potential win-win scenario for Lobb and the Dockers if the 29-year-old decides to again request a trade at the end of this season, with his value growing by the week.

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Lobb has taken a consistent approach to addressing his future at the Dockers, telling AFL.com.au in February that he was not ruling out a move at the end of the season and was only focused on playing the best footy he could in 2022.

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Lobb lifts Fremantle past Port with career-best haul

A career-best five goals for Rory Lobb saw Fremantle secure an important victory

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It's an approach that hasn't changed, with the forward/ruck telling Fremantle champion Matthew Pavlich in an interview on Channel Nine this week that his focus remained only on this season and helping the Dockers play finals.   

On that measure, Lobb has delivered. He has booted 27 goals at a career-best average of 1.9 a game and provided excellent ruck support to Sean Darcy with 9.1 hit-outs a game.

If he continues on that path he will hit the 40-goal mark Fremantle challenged him to reach by the end of the home-and-away season and surpass his previous best of 29 goals.

His marks inside 50 (33 from 14 games) have already equalled his career best from 2016 with Greater Western Sydney, which came from 24 games. 

Rory Lobb celebrates a goal for Greater Western Sydney against Melbourne in R23 2018. Picture: Getty Images

The Giants did not value Lobb enough last season to meet Fremantle's asking price on the back of a 20-goal season from 13 games.

It is unlikely a similar scenario will play out this year, however, with his value now dictated by his performances in 2022 rather than the potential that has always been obvious if not consistently delivered upon.

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Lobb's manager, Colin Young, is taking a similar approach to his client and not commenting on the forward's future beyond this season.

It is highly likely a trade request will come, however, with one year still to run on Lobb's contract.

In that scenario, playing career-best football has delivered a great immediate result for the fourth-placed Fremantle as well as suiting their long-term objectives, given Lobb's increased value.

Fremantle teammates help Rory Lobb celebrate a goal against Sydney in R10, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

It has also suited Lobb's objectives, resulting in a seemingly more enjoyable season for the 206cm Docker and increasing his chances of playing at his club of choice – whether that is Fremantle or elsewhere – in 2023.

Geelong midfielder Tim Kelly showed in 2019 that career-best football is possible after a failed trade request when his desired move to West Coast was knocked back, winning All-Australian selection.

Sydney star Ryan O'Keefe did likewise in 2009 after the Swans refused to trade him to a Victorian club, going on to win that year's best and fairest, the 2012 Norm Smith Medal, and finishing his 286-game career with the Swans.

Even if Lobb finishes his career elsewhere, his professional approach to 2022 and the opportunities it has opened for both him and the Dockers have been impressive.