Lyon defends Freo go-slow
Fremantle is fast gaining a reputation for its unfashionable style of football, but coach Ross Lyon isn’t too fussed as long as his team keep winning.
After seven rounds, Fremantle has established itself as the best defensive side in the competition, conceding just 72.6 points per game to build a 5-2 start to the year.
Fremantle’s attack has failed to click so far, with its average of 82.9 points per game 12th-best in the league.
Inaccuracy has been a major problem for Freo, but its defensive and stoppage-heavy tactics have also been criticised in some quarters.
The situation is reminiscent of 2005, when AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou labelled the Sydney Swans’ game style as ugly.
Lyon was an assistant coach to Paul Roos on the Swans’ outfit that broke a 72-year premiership drought with a four-point win over West Coast in the season decider.
While some Fremantle fans voiced their displeasure at their side’s stop-start style during Sunday’s 40-point win over Port Adelaide, Lyon has defended his tactics, saying it was important to shore up the club’s defensive game plan before improving the attack.
“We’d love to be No.1 in both attack and defence but we’ll start with defence,” Lyon told Perth radio station 6PR.
“I don’t know – our 55 entries and 27 shots on goals must be a bit different to everyone else’s, so I’m not too fussed to be honest.
“We thought we took a real step forward on the weekend with our pressure, and creating turnovers.
“We kicked 2.8 in the first quarter. I’ll take 10 shots on goal – we’ve just got to convert.”
Fremantle’s top-four hopes will receive a major test on Saturday when they take on Hawthorn (4-3) at Aurora Stadium.
Lyon said defender Adam McPhee would struggle to prove his fitness in time after injuring his calf against Port Adelaide.