Fremantle ruckman Jon Griffin confident of more opportunities
Jonathon Griffin is hopeful the arrival of Ross Lyon will breathe new life into his Fremantle career and says he, Aaron Sandilands and Zac Clarke could form the strongest ruck battery in the AFL.
Griffin did not play a single game alongside triple All-Australian Sandilands as he ended a frustrating first season at the Dockers with just seven senior appearances.
The former Adelaide Crow was left to languish in the WAFL in the early part of the season, before a hip injury prematurely ended his campaign after he showed some sparkling form filling in for injured Sandilands.
Lyon’s arrival has since put a spring in his step, with Griffin confident his new coach will experiment with playing he and Sandilands in the same 22.
“Harvs had his ideas, so all I could do was just train well and play well in the WAFL each week and keep putting my name up for selection,” he said.
“Hopefully this year there will be a chance to play together. In the past at times it’s been evident that (Lyon) likes big men and he plays big men, so hopefully that doesn’t change.
“I’ve got to prove myself and earn my jumper, so it’s a two-way thing.”
Griffin believes he, Sandilands and youngster Clarke are well placed to rival formidable West Coast duo Dean Cox and Nic Naitanui as the best ruck division in the competition.
“Obviously Aaron with his dominance and both myself and Zac’s development as well in helping him out, I think we could be up there with the big combinations if not be the best combination,” he said.
“At the moment (Lyon) has sort of indicated to the three of us just to focus on getting fit and make sure that we’re on the track.
“It’d be great to play alongside both of them, but at the end of the day we’ve just got to wait and see.”
Despite their similarities, Griffin is adamant he and Sandilands can co-exist and believes his evolution as a marking option up forward, especially during the NAB Cup, will be the key determinant of his fate.
“I’d like to think I could be played up forward,” he said. “Last year I could’ve played more as a forward at times.
“That’s just something I’ve got to prove to the coaching staff as well this year with pre-season, to show I can have the versatility to play in the ruck and up-front.”
Griffin said Lyon played a key role in convincing him to stay at Fremantle after he had been linked with a move to Port Adelaide for greater opportunity.
“I had a good chat with Ross, and Ross was big on me staying here. I’m a Fremantle boy as well and at the end of the day I didn’t want to leave,” he said.