At the beginning of 2016 the Dockers made a clear goal that they were striving to reach by the end of the regular season. After missing out on finals play in 2015 by percentage difference the aim from the coaching and playing staff of Norrtälje was to make the top 3 and play finals footy for the first time in the club’s 4 year history.
After 5-of-10 rounds play in the 2016 season, the Norrtälje Dockers have shot out of the blocks with their best start to a season to date, sitting in second place on the ladder heading into the summer break. The SAFF’s newest club have turned many heads this season winning 4-out-of-5 matches that they have played, going down only to last year’s premiers the Södermalm Blues, back in round 2.
Recruitment was a strong focus of the Dockers management during the preseason and it looks to have paid off with the team almost a certainty to make the postseason and have a shot at making their first grand final in one fell swoop. The level of Dockers first time players, Elias Akbari, Abbas Vafaee, Farhad Hosseini, Robin Åberg and Nicklas Andersson has been exceptional and beyond anybody’s expectations. All of the new recruits have picked up the game like they have been playing for years and have all managed to kick goals in the opening half of the season.
The return of prodigal son Mathew Schulte has boosted the club as expected, with the Melbourne-born forward leading the club’s goal scoring with 12 six-pointers. Schulte also managed to recruit Aussie Nathan Iannacone and Kiwi Steve Howard who have brought worlds of experience to the young and impressionable Dockers squad.
Star ruckman Buster Sund has been a clear standout during every match. Sund’s development and knowledge of the game has taken him to a level which every opponent fears when they go up against the 19-year-old. He has controlled the ruck and proven to be a menace all over the ground by taking marks that should be out of his reach and making tackles and capturing those who take him on.
Team captain Erik Lindqvist has led the team from his fullback position, organsing his team’s midfield and backs, which has been the catalyst of the Docker’s vast improvement in defence. His bone-crushing hits have continued in 2016 and Lindqvist even managed to kick his first goal of his career against the Årsta Swans in Norrtälje’s last outing before the break.
Norrtälje have 3 games left after the summer against Södermalm, Bromma and Solna. Two wins would assure their place in the top two of the SAFF and would see them reached their preseason goal. Although, once there, their hunger for a finals berth and their first flag will only drive them further and beyond their initial expectations.