Wayward Freo pay the price
Coach Ross Lyon has bemoaned a wayward performance from his forward line on Friday night, with inaccuracy costing Fremantle dearly in its eight-point loss to Carlton.
Fremantle controlled the first half of Friday night’s match, but a 2.7 second quarter saw them enter the main break six points behind, the final scoreline a frustrating 7.15 (57) to Carlton’s 10.5 (65).
Lyon said his team failed to capitalise on its midfield dominance in the first half, adding his three-pronged tall forward line was still a work in progress after a goalless return from Jack Anthony.
“I just think when we had ascendency and dominated the second quarter, to kick 2.7 against what everybody believes to be a top-four team … you need to put scoreboard pressure on,” Lyon said.
“We all know that a lot of games are won and lost on accuracy. We probably won on accuracy last week and probably lost on it tonight.”
Lyon recalled Anthony for Fremantle’s round four win over St Kilda, leaving Kepler Bradley out of the team, but the former Collingwood forward was subbed out of the match early in the third quarter on Friday night with four possessions.
Lyon praised captain Matthew Pavlich, who had 20 possessions and one goal, but said the team lost its forward structure at times, with key defender Luke McPharlin forced forward in the final term.
“I don’t think we’re too far away,” he said.
“We are working on it. We haven’t got too many tricks up our sleeve. There are some players in the WAFL.
“It’s a work on progress, but I think when we win the clearances, contested ball and have a structure in front, I think we look dangerous at times.”
Ryan Crowley’s defensive job on Brownlow medallist Chris Judd was a major talking point on Friday night, with the Fremantle stopper holding his man to 17 disposals, including just six in the first half.
Crowley’s tactics led Gold Coast captain Gary Ablett to tweet during the match: “Crowley is a joke. Play the ball not the man! That’s why Lingy was such a great players he ran both ways.”
However, Lyon called for objectivity, saying Carlton had also employed negative tactics.
“I think (Aaron) Joseph played pretty tight on (Hayden) Ballantyne,” the coach said.
“Good players have got to work through strong go-with roles.
“Judd-Crowley, Joseph-Ballantyne, (Stephen) Hill-(Dennis) Armfield. You need to be objective and see what’s going on out there.”
Lyon was pleased with back-up ruckman Jon Griffin’s performance after Aaron Sandilands was forced out with a knee injury, while midfielder Nat Fyfe finished the match unscathed in his return from a shoulder dislocation.
The coach said he was confident Sandilands would return for Fremantle’s round six clash with Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium.