Wayward Freo frustrates Lyon
Fremantle coach Ross Lyon is confident his team’s attacking prowess will improve after inaccuracy blotted a comfortable 40-point win over Port Adelaide on Sunday.
Captain Matthew Pavlich kicked four straight goals – including the 500th of his stellar career – in an impressive return to form, and Chris Mayne’s three goals took his season tally to 13.0.
But otherwise Fremantle’s radar was off, with an 8.14 return in the first three quarters keeping Port Adelaide in the game despite the home team’s inside 50 dominance.
Lyon praised an improved performance from his midfield, which was led superbly by returning ruckman Aaron Sandilands (43 hit-outs) and Stephen Hill (26 disposals), but said missed opportunities had been a frustration.
“In the third quarter I thought we dominated with 14 entries, and to not convert and kick 2.4 was quite frustrating,” the coach said.
“There’s some players hitting the scoreboard … so there’s a lot to like and plenty of things to improve upon.
“I’m sure if we keep working at it, if we keep our shoulder to the wheel – which we have in the contest and defensively, and those things are coming along – I’m sure it will turn.”
Sunday’s 12.15 (87) to 7.5 (47) win gives Fremantle a 5-2 record after seven rounds, leaving it just one win behind leader-leader West Coast, with an intriguing round nine Western Derby looming in two weeks.
It’s a win-loss record Lyon said he would have taken pre-season, with key midfielders David Mundy and Michael Barlow, who both had 19 disposals on Sunday, building after interrupted pre-seasons.
“We could be worse, we could be better, to be frank,” the coach said.
“We’ve got some big challenges coming and you need to keep winning and we’re giving ourselves a chance.
“We’ve beaten finalists, we’ve beaten teams thereabouts and we want to be a team that wins anywhere, anytime. What bigger challenge than to go down to Launceston (this weekend) against an in-form Hawthorn and take it on and find out where we’re at?”
Pavlich booted three goals in the first half, but he was stranded on 499 career goals until deep into the fourth quarter, with both Lyon and the skipper playing down the significance of the milestone.
“The human side says it’s something you tick off and the footballer/professional athlete side of me says it’s something that we just move on,” Pavlich said.
“It’s nice, but it isn’t what you’re here for. I think the crowd probably knew more about it than anyone else.”
Pavlich took a knock to his right knee late in the first quarter, but he returned after quarter time and played the match out with strapping. He said he would probably have precautionary scans on Monday.
“It’s a bit sore. It’ll be interesting to see how it pulls up tomorrow,” the captain said.
“It was more of a knock than anything else, but anything that’s down near the knee you have a bit of concern. I was able to strap it up and it felt a bit better after I had a bit of time off.
“I was glad I could play out the game.”