Lyon ‘the best thing’
Fremantle midfielder Clancee Pearce says new coach Ross Lyon is the best thing to have happened to his football after the former rookie’s career revival continued in round five.
Pearce was delisted by Fremantle at the end of 2011 after 26 games in three seasons on the rookie list, but he earned another chance under Lyon and has emerged as one of the club’s most consistent performers this season.
The 21-year-old has refined his body shape and pushed into the midfield to average 19 disposals and a goal a game this season, continuing his strong start to the year with 20 possessions (10 contested) and a team-high six clearances against Carlton last Friday night.
Pearce said he had worked hard over the off-season to restart his career, but added Lyon’s influence since arriving at the club last September had been enormous.
“He’s probably been the best thing that’s happened for my football,” Pearce told AFL.com.au. “He just gives me a lot of confidence and shows that if you do the work you’re going to get rewarded.
“He’s a really good communicator and I think he’s the best in the business.
“If you do the hard work and show that you’re willing to give great effort he’ll give you a chance. He’s pretty straight down the line.”
Pearce has been used in hard-running wing and high forward roles this season, highlighting the physical improvements he made over the off-season.
Lyon recently revealed that he had told Pearce to “get rid of the fat arse” and he would have an opportunity at Fremantle, sparking a ruthless summer program that physically reshaped the utility.
“I didn’t really have a break, I came back and trained over the break and tried to get fitter and stronger and change my body shape,” Pearce said.
“When Ross came in we had a few honest chats and he said, ‘If you’re going to do the hard work there’s an opportunity there for you’.
“So I really focused on the areas I need to improve on, the running and changing my body shape. I really just knuckled down and did that and the opportunity came.”
Fremantle travels to face Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium on Saturday and Pearce said the team would aim to produce a consistent performance after inaccuracy and a third-quarter fade-out proved costly against Carlton.
Star ruckman Aaron Sandilands has been rated a 50-50 chance by Lyon to return from a knee injury against the Suns, while the coach has hinted at giving misfiring forward Jack Anthony another chance.