Lyon making his mark
Fremantle captain Matthew Pavlich says coach Ross Lyon’s hard-line approach has the majority of the list fitter at this stage of the pre-season than ever before.
Pavlich, 29, said Lyon had implemented “different philosophies” developed in previous roles at St Kilda and the Sydney Swans, and demanded dedication from his players over their summer break.
“He asked for extraordinary effort and to live every moment as if it’s our last,” Pavlich said on Wednesday.
“He holds everyone in the footy department to account and he outwardly expresses that to you guys (the media) and the public, and he does the same in our four walls at the footy club.
“All of the players were given pretty clear indications of where they needed to get from Ross and the strength and conditioning guys, and there were some high expectations of how we presented back off the break.
“Some of the guys have met those standards and some haven’t. I think a few heeded the message with the coach and some didn’t, but generally speaking the guys have turned up in reasonable shape.
“Clearly we’ve got a long way to go, we’re a young and developing list but we’re a bit more progressed than we may have been in the past.”
Pavlich remains in the rehabilitation group as he works his way back from hip surgery, but is only restricted one day a week from what the main squad is doing.
He said he was close to resuming full training, as were ruckmen Aaron Sandilands and Jon Griffin.
Pavlich has discussed with Lyon – and new assistant coach Peter Sumich, who crossed from West Coast in October – the likelihood of him spending more time in attack next year after playing mainly in the midfield last season.
“It’s going to be about circumstances and availability of particular players, and there’s still a number in rehab who are some of our midfielders,” he said.
“It is going to be interesting to see how that progresses throughout the pre-season.
“Primarily I’ll be more of a forward than I was in 2011 and I think that’s going to suit the team.”
Pavlich said fellow forward options, including Chris Mayne, Kepler Bradley, Zac Clarke and Jack Anthony, needed to press for a permanent role in attack, believing Michael Johnson was more suited to defence.
Pavlich is likely to work closely on the club’s forward line structure over the next few months with Sumich, the Eagles’ all-time leading goalkicker.
“[Sumich and I] have started to formulate some plans and talk collaboratively about how he sees forward play and how myself and other experienced forwards at the club see forward play,” Pavlich said.
“Not surprisingly, a lot of our thoughts are very in line and similar.
“He’s been at a club for quite some time and he’ll bring a few things that will be of an advantage to us.
“I think the beauty is we’ve got some options; it’s just whether or not one player in particular is willing to grab that option and take it by the scruff of the neck and make it theirs.”
Fremantle welcomed five draftees on Thursday night at the NAB AFL Draft – Victorians Tom Sheridan and Hayden Crozier, and South Australians Alex Forster, Lachie Neale and Cameron Sutcliffe.
Pavlich said the young players were settling in well, with Sutcliffe staying at the skipper’s house.
“We’re trying to get a word out of him but we’re finding it a bit more difficult than we thought it may be,” he said.
“It’s great to be able to help those guys. We’ve already bombarded them with a lot of information over the past couple of days, taken them up to Subiaco and out for dinner and all the things that initially helps them settle in.”