De Boer praises Freo spirit
Fremantle midfielder Matt de Boer admits the players have let down coach Ross Lyon in the past few weeks but believes Saturday’s win over Richmond is evidence the game plan is starting to work.
Lyon had been criticised in recent times for his game plan, which had been panned by many including SEN commentator Kevin Bartlett, who said the team had become “unwatchable”.
De Boer, 22, said the players had weathered the last three weeks – which have featured losses to Hawthorn, West Coast and Adelaide – well and responded accordingly against the Tigers.
“A little bit,” de Boer told AFL.com.au, after the 12-point win at the MCG, when asked if they felt like they’d let Lyon down.
“He’s come over and put it all on the line for us, and we’ve got to repay the favour, which I think we’re starting to.
“We’re really resilient. We’re up and about, no matter what, and we’re working on a few things.
“It was obviously a big shift with the new game plan but we’re tinkering with it and we’re sticking with it, and it worked today.”
De Boer played a big part in providing stifling pressure that influenced the win, with 13 of the 118 tackles (a club record) to go with his 29 disposals and eight clearances.
He played down his involvement, and said the greasy conditions that came after bucketing rain drenched the ground in the first half forced that style of game.
Instead, he spoke glowingly of teammates Matthew Pavlich and Jon Griffin.
Pavlich kicked six goals – his biggest bag since booting the same in round 14, 2008 against Essendon – and was present on a day where leadership was dearly required.
“It was a very good captain’s game especially and he just stood up when we needed him,” he said.
Griffin shouldered the ruck load after Aaron Sandilands was subbed off at the 12-minute mark of the first quarter after hurting his foot.
The big man ended with 43 hit-outs to Richmond’s Ivan Maric’s 44.
“Full credit to Jon Griffin. I thought he stood up massively. He had a big load and was getting his hand to the ball against a very in-form ruckman,” de Boer said.
“I couldn’t have been prouder of him.”
Fremantle not only halted a three-game losing streak in toppling the Tigers, but secured its first win at the MCG since round four, 2007.
De Boer, who was playing in his 64th AFL game and 30th win, said it was the best victory he’d been involved in.
“This is the home of football and we need to win here to go forward so it was just great that we could come over as a brotherhood and get the job done,” he said.
“We were prepared to scrap all day. We’re really confident with whatever the conditions, wherever we’re playing, that we can bring a great effort and great attitude and we’ll get the job done.”