Ross Lyon Q & A – Derby XXXVII
Ross, what did you make of the match?
We were really pleased to get the four points. Round one is really important. We all come off big summers full of hope and expectation. We thought we were in really good shape and that was proven.
It was a slow start. I think you have to admire the Eagles, the reality is they were depleted in some areas, particularly in the midfield and the way they came out and took the game right up to us, but in the end I thought our preparation and total teamsmanship in the end was quite dominant. There were signs well before half time but we just couldn’t hurt them on the scoreboard and they scored pretty easy. Once we tidied a few of those things up, I thought our third quarter was dominant and there was a real arm wrestle in the last. A lot to like, but a lot to improve on.
Too much midfield ball for them do you think?
No, there were 38 entries, I don’t think that was an enormous amount. I just think they made the most of their opportunities early, some free kicks, eight shots from free kicks, I think I’ll look at our defenders, was there any undisciplined? That’s an abnormally high number. 20 per cent of their entries resulted in free kick goals, but I’ll have a look at that and see if we can improve that because you wouldn’t want that to continue. Would you? But other than that it was a hard fought contest and in the end we were slightly the better team.
You don’t like to talk about individuals, but Jon Griffin’s effort in the ruck tonight?
I certainly like to acknowledge individual efforts, but they’re also the product of a lot of hard work from the teammates around them. I’ve got full faith in Jon, he stood up last year, and that’s why we are really excited that Aaron and Jon are going to be in the team together. Seeing Aaron playing that front half a fair bit it will be fantastic for us and we will see that at some point but just not at the moment. I thought Jon and Kepler as a tandem were really effective against pretty special ruckman in Cox and young Lycett.
Hayden Ballantynes injury?
Yeah, it was really late. He threw himself around for a few tackles so he sort of knocked his shin and corked his calf so we subbed him out.
He should be fine in two weeks?
As far as I know he should be fine, there is no red alert. We came out relatively healthy.
How do you spend the next two weeks now, fortunately you have a week off before the next game? What do you do different compared to if you didn’t have the week off?
I hand them over to our strength and conditioning team to prepare them physically. We give them feedback on their football, what they did well and what we need to improve on. In a sense we’ve handled six months off, so I think the respite will be good to repair off the first one and get going off to travel. We like to win away so we set ourselves to win away.
Do you think the big body nature of the midfield is becoming a factor in games?
My personal choice is for big men in the midfield – contested ball and they spread well. I think Geelong have proven that, Collingwood have Pendelbury, Swan, these guys are big in contested ball so we really value it.
The whole comp was watching tonight, what message do you think you’ve sent to the competition?
I’m not to sure to be honest, it’s hard to know what other people think. But I think they would say we’re a competitive AFL team and when they play us we will be competing strongly.
How pleased were you with the pairing of Stephen Hill and Danyle Pearce?
It’s hard, everyone contributed in their own way. I think we had two standouts with the medal winners next to me (Barlow and Mundy). I think those other two played their part at the right time.
On a night when Pavlich was held goalless how pleasing was it to see the forward line function as they did?
David Parkin as a coach said that forwards kick goals and see goals kicked and I thought Matthew played his part in seeing goals kicked tonight. He had a fair amount of shots on goal, he will only get better.
What about the rest of the forward line?
I thought they were ordinary early to be honest, and then they worked into it.
So early, was it a case of the contest or the way the ball was being kicked to them?
Sometimes you just need to take it as it comes.
Do you think that the slow first quarter, had anything to do with the last hit-out with Western Bulldogs?
We were really confident coming in, we ticked all the boxes it’s never going to be exactly what you want, you are always going to find a hole somewhere there is certainly no excuses for us. It was a home derby we take great pride in representing our members and fans with great intensity and passion. That’s all I know that we did. We walk away, bank the four points and keep trying to bank them. We move on really quickly from here to Western Bulldogs and our next challenge.
Have you figured out the Eagles? That’s two games in a row that you’ve kept them really low inside-50’s.
I don’t think so. They are going to grow from here. We just have to keep improving, we move on pretty quickly. Next time we play them there will be eight or nine changes in each team, that’s just the nature of AFL footy, the only constant is change so we will keep improving.