No excuses: Lyon
Fremantle coach Ross Lyon has refused to use his team’s gruelling travel schedule as an excuse for Friday night’s season-ending loss to Adelaide at AAMI Stadium.
Freo’s players had little time to recover from the elimination final win against Geelong in Melbourne before fronting up to face the Crows in Adelaide six days later.
Despite the short turnaround, Fremantle burst out of the blocks to lead by 29 points early in the second quarter before being overrun, but Lyon dismissed talk that travel may have played a part.
“It’s irrelevant – it’s all garbage to be frank,” Lyon said.
“As senior coach of the Fremantle Football Club … we’re not into excuses. You earn the right for top-four, scheduling is irrelevant, we wouldn’t have been talking about scheduling if we’d been a bit more organised [on the field] and a bit more polished.
“I can’t be any clearer – it’s a non-issue. You look tired when you’re chasing.”
Victorious coach Brenton Sanderson, however, admitted he had spared a thought for Fremantle given its tough travel assignment.
“I do feel for Freo because they certainly threw everything at us and they’ve had the back-to-back six-day breaks and all that travel … it has to take its toll,” Sanderson said.
“I didn’t tell the players, but I did feel that if we could just keep in the game and keep the momentum rolling, that eventually they would tire.”
While Lyon disputed that notion, he did concede his players failed to maintain the intense pressure that troubled Adelaide so greatly in the early going.
“That’s footy – if you don’t play for four quarters you miss an opportunity,” he said.
“I thought Adelaide persisted until it turned their way.
“There were signs [of trouble] late in the second and the third quarter and then we fought back in the fourth, but they just had a little bit more polish when required.”
Despite falling just 10 points short of a preliminary final in his first season as Fremantle coach, Lyon said there were no guarantees his side’s encouraging finals campaign would lead to another jump up the ladder next year.
“I think that’s yet to be proven,” he said.
“I’ve got a simple philosophy – review it, failure is feedback, we clearly need to improve and we’ve got plenty of work to do.
“There’s no guarantee we’ll be back here next year – I think that’s the overriding message. We all start equal next year.
“History is a guide, but it’s not a precursor to anything. We really need to roll up our sleeves and do the work because if you don’t do the work you’re no chance.”