Ross Lyon, the wrong man for Fremantle
New Fremantle coach Ross Lyon (Slattery Images)
When Fremantle ushered in Ross Lyon as their new coach, it seemed that finally, the AFL’s least decorated club had found its ruthlessness to be successful. Nine rounds into the 2012 AFL season and that dream is turning into a nightmare.
Once again, it seems club Docker has erred towards making another rash decision in appointing Lyon.
2012 has seen a massive transformation at the Fremantle Football Club under Lyon. While comparatively, there are no major differences in stats between 2011 and 2012, the spirit and endeavour of the Fremantle side seems to have been lost in pre-season training.
Once a noble, spirited side, the current team are a pale shadow of their former selves, playing robotic stifling football that has no direction and no ‘B’ plan which was evident on Sunday in the derby.
The score of 5.6 (36) is just one stat that reflects the abysmal monotone nature of the Fremantle Football Club.
Against the Eagles on Sunday, the Dockers had 109 less disposals (294-403), 34 less inside 50s (34-60), a disposal efficiency of 67% (Eagles were 74%) and a staggering 68 less marks against the Eagles (68-136).
Fremantle are still 5-4 and still have time to fix it but with matches against resurgent teams in Adelaide and Richmond, the Dockers’ chances of finals are slimming by the day.
With this in mind, the question must be asked; were Fremantle right in sacking Mark Harvey for Lyon?
My answer is the same as it was when the deal was announced. No.
For all his faults, Harvey was unlucky last year not to make the finals with such a talented team. The players are attack-minded and when playing well, were a force in 2011.
When Lyon came to the club, I thought he could do Blighty at the Crows or a Rodney Eade at the Bulldogs and change his gameplan to suit the talent.
But he has resorted to a neo-conservative defensive gameplan in an effort to stifle oppositions.
It is a gameplan that worked at St Kilda (Lyon’s era was the most successful since the mid-60s) but is failing at Fremantle.
Mark Robinson of Fox Footy’s AFL 360 made an accurate point about why Fremantle are struggling under the new gameplan; Fremantle do not have the cattle for his gameplan.
Where St Kilda had the hardened footballers of Dal Santo, Riewolt, Milne, Hayes etc, Fremantle have a different complexion.
Players such as Stephen Hill, Nate Fyfe (until injured), Hayden Ballentine while good, lack that battle-hardened ethos Lyon’s game style demands.
Lyon however, continues to implement a plan where he does not have the cattle and he is fighting teams with a gameplan that is quickly becoming outdated.
Lyon was brought in to improve the Fremantle side but after nine rounds, the Dockers have not improved in season 2012 and seem to be heading backwards.
Players, who were outstanding in 2011, look lost in 2012, struggling in the new claustrophobic conditions imposed by Lyon.
Fremantle made a mistake in appointing Ross Lyon, who is a good coach in the wrong settings.
The club needed someone who could use the talents at his disposal, not a coach who is trying to build something with the wrong tools.
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