Dugout drama between coach and captain in Fremantle Dockers Tassie meltdown
Dockers skipper Matthew Pavlich has refused to “jump at shadows” after yesterday’s 56-point defeat to Hawthorn at Aurora Stadium, defending the team’s defensive gameplan and instead saying a lack of effort let the side down.
Pavlich defended the team’s defensive game plan, instead saying a lack of effort let the side down.
The defensive mindset under new coach Ross Lyon led the port club to having the tightest defence in the league before yesterday, but it unravelled under the contested pressure of Hawthorn.
Frustrations even appeared to boil over between captain and coach at a point, with the pair engaging in a vigorous exchange just before half-time.
Lyon was coaching from ground level within the Dockers’ dugout and was approached by Pavlich, with both lively in their body language before the skipper paced back to the boundary line.
But Pavlich denied there was a problem with the strategy, saying it had proven effective throughout the season and only a breakdown in contested areas had the balance between attack and defence flip.
“Clearly, we were significantly down in all areas of the game that we have as fundamentals,” Pavlich said.
“It’s plain and simply down to winning the contested footy, kicking the ball a bit more instead of trying to handball it so much.”
The Dockers entered the Hawthorn duel as league leaders in stoppages, were ranked second for the fewest inside-50s conceded and had allowed just 76 goals to be kicked against them.
But the Hawks yesterday defied those figures to dominate clearances 49-23, pump in 67-38 inside-50s and win the contested ball count 142-122.
Lyon yesterday lamented his side’s lack of desire.
“The game was won and lost in the first quarter and the second quarter,” Lyon said. “Our inability to clear the ball . . . I thought we got annihilated in the midfield, to be frank, and I felt sorry for our defence.
“They walked the ball out, they dominated clearances and ground-ball first-possession; our backs were just under seige. Our desire to compete in the midfield and our work and run were really poor.”
Lyon denied the derby clash with league-leading West Coast held any extra significance.
“I haven’t experienced a derby before and at the end of the day, it’s another game of footy and certainly not a finals game,” Lyon said.
“If we’re preparing any different next week compared to this week, well we’re not the AFL club we want to be.”
Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson said he was pleased to get a victory against a “pretty formidable side”.
“What had been very impressive in the way they’d gone about it is that they really strangled opposition sides and restricted their inside 50s and their scoring opportunities.”