Tamer Lyon shows Dockers the way
It was low key but there was an undeniable message in Ross Lyon’s first training session at Fremantle Oval yesterday.
There was no need for CHOGM’s demonstration busters because the howls of protest which greeted the axing of Mark Harvey for Lyon have long ago been carried away by the Fremantle Doctor.
About 20 supporters and a full media contingent were on hand to watch Lyon, and probably more apt, listen to the sound of his whistle which hung around his neck.
Alas, while Lyon’s reputation as a deeply intense, hard man of the coaching caper preceded him, the ghouls in the media were disappointed that players weren’t driven to throwing up during the 90- minute session.
Players such as Michael Barlow drifted in and out of the rooms, stretching and working on a balance beam about 50cm off the ground, and Michael Johnson, Nick Suban, Nat Fyfe and Dylan Roberton at various times also poked their heads out.
But only 10 players, including Hayden Ballantyne, Stephen Hill, Alex Silvagni, Greg Broughton, Zac Clarke and Tendai Mzungu, took to the field for the first lesson in Lyon’s Football 101.
Joining him were other new coaches Peter Sumich, who nursed a football to his side like a Greek taxi driver gets comforted by fiddling with worry beads, while Mark Stone, the club’s stoppage’s coach, chatted at times with Lyon.
After an initial warm-up drill centred round short run-throughs, Lyon studied a crumpled piece of paper he’d taken from his pocket before the players completed a close-in handball drill.
It’s not possible to get a complete handle on Lyon’s approach after observing his first session from 70m away but it became evident the often stern-faced coach would get his hands dirty during training. Probably, delegation is not a driving force in his operation.
The sound of Lyon’s whistle echoed around Fremantle Oval a few times in a kicking drill where players short-passed to each other. Twice he whistled the players in to reinforce methods that he wanted them to adopt, using his body to make the points.
It was the final exercise, though, which probably gave the greatest insight into Lyon’s approach.
The pea in his whistle worked as hard as any of the players in a drill where two players worked to clear the ball from an “opposition” player.
Renowned as one of the best strategists for close-in AFL combat, you could sense that this was Lyon’s preferred domain.
Six times he whistled a stop as he lectured the 10 players on how he wanted them to approach the work, what to do and what not to do.
And, six times, they listened. You could have heard a pin drop at Fremantle Oval as Lyon’s instructions were issued – and received.
You’d expect that the sound of Lyon’s whistle will become a permanent feature around the oval over the pre-season.