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Record-breaking Sandilands the difference, says Lyon

Lyon: 'We were pretty emphatic' Ross Lyon praises his side's performance after half-time
That's significant in the result, it's probably the result
Ross Lyon on Aaron Sandilands' performance

FREMANTLE coach Ross Lyon enjoyed Nat Fyfe's match-up against Patrick Dangerfield, but believes Saturday night's 11-point win over Adelaide was largely thanks to Aaron Sandilands.

The ruckman posted a VFL/AFL record 69 hit-outs against the Crows, offering midfielders Fyfe, David Mundy, Nick Suban and Michael Barlow first use of the ball. 

The previous record was 63 by North Melbourne's Gary Dempsey in 1982 against Hawthorn. 

Lyon said the Crows' ability to generate scoring drives from the centre bounce was a key focus for the Dockers. 

Even with Sandilands' ruck dominance, Saturday night produced an epic encounter – highlighted by the extraordinary one-on-one battle between Fyfe and Patrick Dangerfield.

The win maintained Fremantle's unbeaten start to the season, pleasing its coach who talked up the necessity to win close games in the face of inevitable hardships. 

"That's significant in the result, it's probably the result," Lyon said of Sandilands' performance. 

"All I know is when you're available and in form you need to win, as silly as that sounds. 

"The headwinds are going to come – injuries, suspension, form – so you've got to take your opportunities when you get them.

"Fortunately we're doing that because there will be some times when things don't quite go our way and [then] you've got that little buffer."

WATCH: Ross Lyon's full post-match media conference

Fyfe collected 40 possessions, 14 clearances, kicked a goal and drove the ball inside 50 on 10 occasions in a performance that strengthened his position as the League's best player in many minds. 

Not in Lyon's though. 

The Fremantle coach believes the Brownlow Medal favourite is a very good player but that it's not fair to raise him above Dangerfield or Gary Ablett and Scott Pendlebury. 

"I think he's a pretty good player but I think when you're trying to split the highest echelon of AFL talent you've got to be really careful – there's some great players out there," he said. 

"'Buddy's' (Lance Franklin) handy, (Joel) Selwood's handy, Dangerfield's handy, there's some really special players – Ablett's a pretty good player, Pendlebury's pretty special. 

"We bandy about the 'number one player' way too easily in my view. 

"I get it, [Fyfe's] a great player and we love him, he's a great leader and he's growing."