‘Don’t focus on dynamic duo’
Fremantle coach Ross Lyon says his team will have to do more than just shut down Hawthorn stars Lance Franklin and Cyril Rioli if it is to win at Aurora Stadium on Saturday.
Fremantle left injured defender Adam McPhee (calf) in Perth on Thursday, calling Jay van Berlo and Jesse Crichton into its squad, with one to replace McPhee and the other to travel as an emergency.
McPhee has enjoyed strong form as a lockdown defender this season and he would have been an ideal match-up for Rioli, who has kicked seven goals in his last two games against Fremantle.
However, Lyon said there was more to the Hawks than their star forwards, who have combined for 35 goals this season, including 11 against St Kilda in round six.
“Obviously they’re very talented players, but I think if you get caught up focusing on two players you forget about the rest and it gets quite difficult,” Lyon said.
“They’re going to kick goals; it’s a matter of how many. We want to compete really well, win the ball and try and play all phases of the game equally.
“Zac Dawson has played on Lance (Franklin) a few times and Luke McPharlin has as well.
“Do they share him up, do they go all the way, do they hand him over to Michael Johnson? They’re all things as a match committee we’ll finalise at the final meeting.”
Alex Silvagni held Franklin to 0.3 in round 19 last year, but the young Fremantle defender is yet to play this season and will be named as an emergency along with ruckman Jon Griffin this week.
Lyon said McPhee had a cork and was expected to be available next week, with Fremantle boasting options to blanket Rioli.
“Greg Broughton can go to him, Dylan Roberton can go to him, Lee Spurr has been a great addition and David Mundy has been rolling through half-back as well,” the coach said.
“We think we’ve got flexibility there and obviously the other guys down there have been doing a pretty good job. Nick Suban went out and Roberton and those guys came in, so we think we can handle it.”
Lyon labelled Saturday’s match “a really important game for us” with Fremantle (5-2) in sixth, just one game behind ladder leader West Coast.
The coach said he was trying to strike a balance between attack and defence following criticism of the team’s low-scoring run this season.
“It’s not always perfect. But we feel we’ve had a number of shots that we haven’t taken,” Lyon said.
“At the end of the day we’re a work in progress. I’ve been with this group for six months now and I think we’ve made some inroads.
“We haven’t been perfect – we could easily be 7-0 and we could easily be 1-6 – but we’re thereabouts and we’re in most games.
“We’ve just got to keep taking opportunities and keep growing our younger players, like Neale, and Spurr is in. I think Zac Clarke has been a revelation.
“We know where we’re at and we’re building. We’re aiming to catch the best. We’re not quite there yet, but we’re aiming to get there as quick as we can.”