New Fremantle coach Ross Lyon has suggested his predecessor Mark Harvey should cop the blame for the Dockers’ horror injury run.

Lyon, who replaced the sacked Harvey in sensational circumstances a week ago, says senior coaches are ultimately responsible for the fitness of their list.

Harvey was barely able to field a team at the end of the season, with an incredible 23 players on the Dockers’ injury list, at least half of which were among the club’s best 22.

Lyon refused to place blame for the injury toll squarely on his predecessor, but said a certain amount of responsibility for player fitness had to be shouldered by senior coaches.

“There’s Chris Bond, the head of football, and I report to him and it’s a team effort,” he said.

“But at the end of the day, the senior coach takes responsibility, ultimately, for the performance and what underlies that is player availability.

“So it’s about having a great working relationship with your doctors, physios and conditioners to come up with a program that ensures, as best you can, player availability.

“You’re (the senior coach) a significant part of that and if it’s not going down the way you want it to, you’ve got to make sure that everyone’s drilling in to (find) if there are things we control and identifying them and fixing the problem.”

Lyon, who dismissed comments from Greater Western Sydney coach Kevin Sheedy¬†about wanting other clubs to poach players from the Dockers after their treatment of Harvey¬†as “irrelevant”, also jumped to the defence of young star Stephen Hill.

Hill has failed to live up to lofty expectations after his excellent debut season in 2009.

“I think clubs that haven’t had much success look for almost the great white hope and a burden can fall on one player for a long period of time,” Lyon told Perth radio station 6PR this morning.

“I think it’s illogical, you need a good spread of performance, and one player is not going to take us to where we need to be.

“He’s an important cog.

“In particular Stephen Hill, he’s exceded any expectations that anyone could have put on him in his first three years of AFL – he’s well ahead of the curve.

“I know, we (St Kilda) tagged him for the last two years, so I think that says something about the player, what he’s been delivering and the talent he has.

“All we need to do is continue to support Stephen and help him develop into the player we want him to be.”

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