FREMANTLE suffered its heaviest defeat in the club’s history against Geelong on Saturday, but coach Ross Lyon has pleaded to not view the loss in isolation and maintains a “positive and vibrant” review will take place.
The Dockers led at the first change but failed to kick a goal after quarter-time, as Geelong rammed home an AFL record 23-unanswered goals en route to the 133-point annihilation of Lyon’s men.
“It was really disappointing, no doubt,” Lyon conceded following the heavy defeat.
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“After a positive first quarter, I certainly didn’t see that coming.
“They obliterated us.”
But it’s evident the Dockers coach has a clear view of what the future holds and didn’t see Saturday afternoon’s carnage as disrupting his club’s current rebuilding pathway.
“To look at one game in isolation is silly,” Lyon said.
“It’s never as good [as it seems], never as bad.
“I think critique the performance, but I think it’s a little bit unfair to (question the rebuild) on the back of playing one AFL game.
“The AFL understands how long it takes. We know it doesn’t take three years. If you ask head office, they know it takes five to six years.
“We also understand teams have taken 10 years and failed.
“You have to bring in the right talent and have the right strategy and build it [from there].
“But I think for where we’re at, eight wins is probably fair when you look (at other teams) in the League.”
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Fremantle was dominated in all aspects after quarter-time and it was particularly hurt outside of the contest.
According to Lyon, the Cats rebounded without applied pressure because his players lacked run and spread: “We weren’t able to contain their dangerous players”.
Tim Kelly (26 disposals, five clearances and three goals), Sam Menegola (27, eight inside 50s and one goal) and Tom Hawkins (six goals) embarrassed the Dockers and made capitalising on their errors seem like a training drill.
In his first game since round 15, Nat Fyfe (37 disposals) was his side’s best, while Lachie Neale (26) battled hard, but most others struggled.
Lyon acknowledged his backline was inexperienced and included five players under the age of 25.
“It was a very tough day for the backline – (Adam) Cerra, (Taylin) Duman, (Ryan) Nyhuis, (Shane) Kersten – are relatively inexperienced,” Lyon said.
“They had their hands full.”
The Dockers have persisted to opt for youth over experience all season, even if that has come at a cost of wasting talent.
“We played a lot of young players, it was a very young team again,” Lyon said.
“We haven’t protected them, we haven’t hidden them.
“We’ve made choices (to opt for youth).
“Danyle Pearce has been best on ground (in the WAFL) nine times in-a-row, but the path we’re on – where we’ve chosen to stick with (Stefan) Giro and (Bailey) Banfield and those kind of guys – it is what it is.
“We know we’re going to get better, there’s no quick fix.”
The Dockers (8-13) currently sit 13th and host Collingwood next weekend in their final game of the season.
Meanwhile, Lyon left the door ajar for a potential farewell game for Pearce, who has only managed one AFL game in what appears to be his final season on the Dockers’ list.