Main content

Harley not a lock for round one, says Lyon

Lyon gives tick to 'selfless' Bennell Fremantle coach Ross Lyon says Harley Bennell contributed strongly in his first match for the club

HARLEY Bennell is still no guarantee to play in round one despite a strong NAB Challenge performance against Geelong in his Fremantle debut, according to Dockers coach Ross Lyon.

Bennell gathered 17 disposals, had four inside 50s, three score assists and kicked 1.2 in three quarters.

But Lyon said Bennell would need to play for Peel Thunder in the WAFL next week and even then is still no guarantee to line up for Fremantle against the Western Bulldogs on Easter Sunday at Etihad Stadium.

Full match coverage and stats

"He'll get an opportunity to play with Peel next week," Lyon said after Saturday's win over Geelong.

"He understands that he'll do that.

"I thought he was OK (against Geelong). I didn't tune in to him too much.

"He impacted the scoreboard, I thought he had some really sharp hands. I thought he was selfless. His intensity at times could maybe be a bit better, I don't know.

"I think his teammates enjoyed playing with him, and he enjoyed playing with them. Ultimately that's the measure, isn't it? When you go down the race you want to be able to trust someone. You're sort of given trust, and build trust, so that's where it probably sits."

Bennell said he was pleased to get some strong game time against them Cats.

"I went into the game knowing I'd be playing only 60 minutes. I was glad to out there with the boys and get the win," Bennell said.

"Geelong are a very hard teams to play against. They are a hard midfield, I think they got us in the first quarter but the boys bounced back."

Ruckman Zac Clarke is also set to play for Peel Thunder next week as he strives for selection in round one. Clarke is vying to partner Jon Griffin in the ruck against the Bulldogs in the absence of suspended star Aaron Sandilands.

Lyon felt that Clarke and Griffin needed to lift their performance ahead of round one following a lacklustre display against the Cats.

"I thought they were just steady," Lyon said.

"I thought they lowered their colours at times, and I thought they had opportunities to impact. I think they'll probably need to step it up a bit."

The Dockers have a couple of minor injury concerns to come out of the win over the Cats.

Michael Johnson was concussed in a heavy sling tackle that saw Cats youngster Nakia Cockatoo reported. Lyon said he hadn't received a full medical report but Johnson has 15 days to recover before round one.

Lee Spurr tightened up in his hamstring in the first half and did not play any further part in the match as a precaution, but Lyon said he was fine.

Skipper David Mundy and small forward Hayden Ballantyne both got through Saturday's win over Geelong in their first game back following minor issues.

Lyon said his squad was pretty fit and healthy heading towards round one and he was relatively pleased with his side's preparation for the season proper after three wins in the NAB Challenge.