FREMANTLE star Michael Walters has rebuffed talk Ross Lyon has 'lost' the playing group, and believes the Dockers are letting the under-pressure coach down after a string of poor performances.
With their fading finals hopes on the line, the Dockers conceded 8.2 in the opening quarter against the Western Bulldogs and went to the first break at Marvel Stadium on Sunday trailing by 23 points.
It was the equal-biggest first-term score against a Lyon-coached outfit in his 302-game career at St Kilda and Freo.
The Dockers were never in the hunt during the 47-point defeat, prompting questions whether Lyon's message is still getting through.
"I can tell you right now, Ross, he hasn't lost the players. He's fully committed, we're fully committed to him and the footy club," Walters said.
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"We could see in the first couple of rounds of this year, the (first) half of the year, our brand of footy does stand up against the better teams, the quality teams.
"Me, personally, I feel like we're letting him (Lyon) down.
"We're fully aware of the criticism that Ross is copping, but to Ross' credit he doesn't bring that to the club.
"Ross doesn't come into meetings talking about the criticism that he's copping, he cops it on the chin. He's good at that, and he does not make us players feel like we're letting him down either."
The Dockers are in the midst of another post-bye slump after five losses from six starts – with their sole victory a one-point triumph at home over Sydney.
It is a familiar tale, with Fremantle managing just six wins from 32 games after the mid-season break since 2016.
"We have been dropping over the last couple of years in the second half of the year, and that comes down to the group," Walters said.
"I don't want to use that as an excuse, but we do have a young group, that's just the facts.
"We need to make sure we stay positive for them.
"We can't go above and beyond and start reaming players because that's not what we're about and where we want to get to."
The Dockers host league-leading Geelong this Saturday and need to address an alarming scoring drought.
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With boom recruit Jesse Hogan (navicular) joining spearhead Matt Taberner (foot) on the sidelines, Fremantle has averaged 58 points in the past six matches.
"Our ball movement at times can be really good, but then at times it can be shocking as well," Walters said.
"The first half of the year we were scoring well, we just need to find that consistency."
Walters brushed off talk of a player exodus with speculation swirling about Ed Langdon and Stephen and Bradley Hill's futures, and said Cats gun Tim Kelly would be a handy addition if he requests a trade home to Perth at season's end.
"I'm pretty sure every club would want to have Tim Kelly," Walters said.
"His footy speaks for itself. He's a quiet kid, but on the footy field he's probably one of the most damaging this year."