Lyon silent on Cloke
Coach Ross Lyon has refused to comment on speculation linking Fremantle to star Collingwood forward Travis Cloke, simply acknowledging that the club has a clear list management and free agency policy in place.
A report in the Herald Sun on Wednesday said Fremantle had made a play for the All Australian with an offer of about $1 million a season, prompting an angry response from Magpies president Eddie McGuire.
“I’m aware of what’s hit the public domain in the back page of theHerald Sun [and] from a football club perspective we’re on record as having a clear, strategic list-management plan in place, which (football manager) Chris Bond and (list manager) Brad Lloyd head up,” Lyon said on Wednesday.
“They’ve been planning for free agency since inception and clearly they’re trying to identify opportunities within the market and work within the bounds of the AFL policies of that.
“As a senior coach I have a list-management meeting with them probably monthly and then the bigger picture stuff.
“I’ve got no comment to make specifically on Cloke. Next week it will be Brendon Goddard and the week after that it will be Brent Stanton and then it will be Tom Lonergan.
“I’m not going to jump into specifics except to say we acknowledge we’ve got a strong strategic approach and people empowered in those positions.”
Fremantle will need to rebound from its loss to Carlton last Friday night without Sandilands and key midfielder Nat Fyfe, who will undergo surgery on his troublesome left shoulder.
Sandilands hyperextended his left knee against St Kilda in round four and missed the Carlton encounter after the injury bled down into his calf and restricted his movement.
The star ruckman ran well on Tuesday, but Lyon said he had been ruled out of Saturday’s game with Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium after aggravating the injury late last week.
“He ran yesterday and ran really well and has pulled up quite well, but we stirred it up on Friday,” Lyon said.
“We tend to put a strong rehabilitation program in place and that will see him out [but] available the week after. We’re really confident in [fellow ruckmen] Jon Griffin and Zac Clarke.”
Lyon said he would avoid using captain Matthew Pavlich extensively through the midfield to cover Fyfe, who will be unavailable for at least three months, instead challenging the rest of his midfield to step up.
The coach said defenders Garrick Ibbotson and Paul Duffield were capable of spending more time in the midfield, and opportunities could present for young runners Jayden Pitt and Dylan Roberton and mature-age recruit Lee Spurr.
Defenders Antoni Grover and Alex Silvagni are also in selection talks, Lyon said, if the club chooses to shuffle its line-up and move a defender into the midfield.
“I think it’s a short-term fix always throwing Matthew (Pavlich) in there,” the coach said.
“If we all work really hard together and be a complementary team around the stoppages, maximise our strengths and minimise our weaknesses, we can still be a really strong AFL midfield.
“We’d love Nathan (Fyfe) there but the fact is he’s not and everyone gets an opportunity to grow.”