Lyon not backing down
Fremantle coach Ross Lyon stands by his pre-match comment that Gold Coast lacks respect for his club despite the unfancied Suns almost pulling off their first home-ground win on Saturday night.
Lyon, who admitted relief at the seven-point victory at Metricon Stadium, made the call in response to Suns’ skipper Gary Ablett’s now infamous tweet regarding the style of Freo tagger Ryan Crowley.
Ablett’s plea for the umpires to penalise Crowley for what he believed were scragging tactics on Carlton’s Chris Judd, kicked up a media storm with Lyon’s strongly worded response lending an edge to the teams’ round-six clash.
Post-game, the coach’s feelings on the matter had not changed.
“I was unhappy with the new paradigm, the social media platform being a vehicle to personalise a view on our players and I think it is uncalled for and unnecessary,” Lyon said.
“I don’t shy away from that at all.
“Certainly as senior coach, I’m entitled to a view, I don’t have to like it and I put that forward.”
With Ablett absent through injury, Crowley’s response on the field was admirable. He gathered the ball 25 times and kicked a goal, but Lyon, although pleased with his midfielder’s output, believed Crowley was “not at his best”.
“At the end of the day, Ryan’s really comfortable in his own skin – it didn’t faze him too much,” Lyon said.
“He’s a working-class AFL footballer. I admire his preparation and his effort.
“Not all of us are gifted in the extreme and I really admire the way he turns his year-on-year performance around.”
Despite the pre-match talk, Lyon was full of praise for the Suns who did it tough after losing experienced defender Nathan Bock to a suspected broken leg early, and were forced to carry other injured players through much of the match.
In particular, Lyon highlighted the way Gold Coast was able to expose his team at stoppages, something no other opposition has managed this season.
“They had nine stoppage goals … we haven’t had one kicked against us all year,” Lyon said.
“There are some real holes there, which we can tighten up, but it was just inconsistent effort”.
“We go away with some really big lessons from this game as a football club about not being an if – if we turn up and if we get effort.
“We want to be an every minute and an every moment and an every quarter kind of team.”
Defender Luke McPharlin said an unusual week, which also featured reports Collingwood forward Travis Cloke was the subject of a lucrative offer from Fremantle, had little impact on the group.
“A lot of us don’t really engage too much in the media in terms of reading the papers”, McPharlin said.
“We’re about how we want to play and we want to continue to focus on the areas of our game that need improvement”.
Fremantle’s lack of scoring potency has been highlighted as an issue but Lyon said it was a “chicken or the egg” criticism.
“Scores come from aggressive defence and we’ve been passive with our defence,” Lyon said.
“We got hammered in the second quarter, seven to 15 clearances, so [our forwards] didn’t get opportunity … so it becomes difficult.
“It’s a game played by men – flesh, blood and spirit. It’s about attitude and effort and, at the end of the day, you get it done.
“We all get caught up in abstract theories about forward lines and structures – don’t complicate it.”