Harvey in Lions den won’t hurt Lyon’s Freo
Fremantle coach Ross Lyon says he has changed his team’s game style significantly since taking over from Mark Harvey, and he is not concerned about the former coach’s inside knowledge leading into Saturday’s clash with the Brisbane Lions.
Harvey, now an assistant with the Lions, has arrived in Perth for Saturday’s match at Patersons Stadium, and Lyon conceded the former Fremantle boss had useful intellectual property about his players after coaching the club for more than four seasons.
However, he said there had been “a significant shift” in the way Fremantle plays, and accounting for Harvey’s inside knowledge had not been a focus this week.
“Certainly he’ll know the individuals; he’s a smart footy brain,” Lyon said on Thursday.
“[But] at the end of the day there are lots of opposition analysts out there … (former Fremantle assistant) Barry Mitchell is with Sydney, all those sorts of things.
“There’s been some significant shifts in how we play and the way we go about it.”
Lyon said he had met with legendary Australian basketball coach Lindsay Gaze in the past and been told that closing training sessions and hiding your game plan from the opposition was a waste of time.
“There’s times to have them (closed sessions), but I think the overriding philosophy at the end of the day is it doesn’t matter,” he said.
“I’ve got into plenty of closed sessions and haven’t got the chocolates. We’re a paranoid bunch, AFL coaches.
“At the end of the day the players go down the race and get the job done. That’s the way I think about it really … you should be well enough drilled to cope with what’s thrown at you.”
Key midfielder David Mundy is expected to return for Fremantle on Saturday after being on the verge of selection for last Saturday’s 13-point loss to the Sydney Swans.
Lyon said it was “great to have some experience and leadership available for selection” and the 2010 club champion had given himself “every chance” to play this week.
“He’s trained, we’ll have selection and put the team in tonight … but he’s a very good chance,” the coach said.
“I’m on record as saying we’re really keen to get David in. He’s trained really well, he was on the verge last week and obviously he’s very, very close this week.”
Inside midfielder Nick Lower, who has served a three-week suspension from round 23 last season, is available, while Dylan Roberton, Jay van Berlo and Antoni Grover have pushed strong claims from the WAFL.
Alex Silvagni, who has been overlooked in the opening two rounds, has been playing as a forward in the state league and Lyon said the club was trying to “round him off with a bit more offensive play”.
“He’s really important as a key defender going forward. He’ll certainly play his part this year.
“[But] it would be easy to put him where he’s really comfortable in the WAFL and just leave him deep in defence.
“We like to get them out of their comfort zone and play up the other end. It forces you to be creative and go at the ball and also not be reactive to an opponent.
“That’s been the thinking and we’re sure that’s going to help him be a better defender when he comes back into the senior mix.”