Lyon says ‘no’ to Davis
Leon Davis will not play at Fremantle next season after coach Ross Lyon emphatically denied his club would chase the former Magpie.
Speaking after Fremantle’s first full training session on Monday, Lyon said pursuing 30-year-old Davis would compromise its policy of playing youth.
Davis sensationally quit Collingwood last month, saying he wanted to live in either his hometown of Perth or that of his partner’s family, Adelaide.
The dual All Australian half-back spoke with Port Adelaide earlier this month, but Lyon took Fremantle’s hat out of the ring.
“I can categorically say we have no desire to take Leon Davis,” Lyon said.
“He is a highly decorated player, All Australian last year and we’re very respectful of Leon’s talent.
“In a real sense he’d be an addition to any club in the AFL, but getting back to our club’s strong strategy, post this draft we’ll have drafted more players than anyone in the AFL over the past four years, young players in, so we’re not going to compromise that.
“I think the reality is we’re still building, still building bodies, still building the list – we certainly aim for the top eight – but to bring Leon in would compromise that, in my view, and the list managers’ view here.”
Lyon took over the Fremantle job in September after Mark Harvey was sensationally sacked, and said the club had a clear direction it wanted to take with its playing list.
Despite wanting to persist with its young players, Lyon said they would select former St Kilda defender Zac Dawson in the NAB AFL pre-season draft after he was delisted by the Saints.
“The list management model that (general manager player management) Brad Lloyd heads up along with (general manager football operations) Chris Bond and the list management committee, have a really strong strategic plan and focus,” Lyon said.
“They had identified the need for a tall back and they had Zac on their list and they clearly asked about Zac, so I put forward my view, and on balance they saw fit to pursue Zac.
“Zac was really keen to come and play for the Fremantle Football Club, and we were really keen to get him and he’ll fly in next Tuesday and begin training.”
Fremantle’s players with seven years’ experience and more joined the group for their first training session on Monday.
Lyon said all players seemed to have returned in good shape, although more formal testing later in the week would confirm that.
Despite playing premiers Geelong and finalists Sydney Swans, Carlton and St Kilda in the first five rounds, Lyon said he was not concerned at the tricky start.
“They don’t make easy games of AFL football, (so you) respect all opponents and prepare for them all the same,” he said.
“Who would have thought the Eagles off the bottom would have been a top four team? So I think you be flippant when you dismiss the opportunity for improvement.
“The past is irrelevant, what everybody did last year is irrelevant, you’ve got to bring it to life and perform. If the past dictated the future, we might as well not be around.
“We’ve got four months (pre-season) that’s really going to go very quickly from here, and we need to get into action and get to work and get fit and get strong and get everyone on the same page with the way we want to play.”