Fremantle coach Ross Lyon is confident Saturday’s unsuccessful fightback against Adelaide at Patersons Stadium will “fortify” his team as it battles to stay in touch with the top eight.

Lyon said Fremantle’s season was still alive after it fought back from six goals down against the Crows, snatched the lead in the fourth quarter before falling to a 29-point defeat.

The coach said his players showed plenty of spirit after a week of heavy scrutiny and the team had shown clear improvement after embarrassing losses to Hawthorn and West Coast.

Fremantle has now lost three straight matches ahead of challenging clashes against Richmond (MCG), Essendon (Patersons Stadium) and Collingwood (MCG).

“I know the doomsayers will be out there, but at 5-5 the season is well and truly alive,” Lyon said on Saturday night.

“Four quarters of what we dished up for maybe two-and-a-half or three quarters today will see us win a number of games.

“It shows we’ve got some work to do, but we can really play some pretty good footy. That fortifies us a bit for the ensuing rounds.”

Fremantle lost the clearances 53-30 against the Crows, who are the AFL’s No.1 stoppage team, despite a 52-34 edge in hit-outs.

Lyon said his team had competed at the stoppages for the first three quarters and the move of Matt de Boer into a midfield role had been a “win” for the club.

“I thought the players really adhered to what we wanted and it gave them some opportunities to move the ball quicker,” the coach said.

“We spread the ball and we had lots of kicks until the last quarter when we couldn’t get our hands on it. It’s predicated on getting your hands on it.

“[De Boer] has done his apprenticeship as a small forward and had lots of ground ball. I thought it was a win for us and an improvement.”

Key forward Jack Anthony was recalled for Saturday’s clash, but he struggled and was subbed out in the third quarter with four disposals.

The 24-year-old, who has failed to have an impact at Fremantle since crossing from Collingwood at the end of 2010, received Bronx cheers from the home crowd.

“It’s a brutal business, we’re up for scrutiny and I always feel for my players who are doing it hard,” Lyon said.

“I take no pleasure in kicking someone when they’re down.”

Fremantle travels to face Richmond at the MCG next Saturday in a “must-win game” ahead of a bye in round 12.

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