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Veteran crumber's form surge thrills Lyon

Lyon: 'You'd think' Banfield will debut Fremantle coach Ross Lyon says Bailey Banfield is likely to feature in round one
Hayden Ballantyne was at his pesky best against the Eagles - AFL,Fremantle Dockers,Ross Lyon,Matt Taberner,Hayden Ballantyne,Bailey Banfield,Andrew Brayshaw,Stephen Hill,Bradley Hill
Hayden Ballantyne was at his pesky best against the Eagles
You would think he's going to play round one
Ross Lyon on Bailey Banfield

ROSS Lyon says Hayden Ballantyne's timely return to form in Sunday's JLT Community Series belting of West Coast came after the Fremantle goalsneak remembered what makes him so dangerous – crumbing packs.

Ballantyne struggled in the Dockers' first two pre-season games but slotted three goals and laid seven tackles at HBF Arena.   

"He improved his front and square work today. At his best he's a front and square (forward) and sometimes we forget that and he forgets that," Dockers coach Lyon said post-match. 

"But he remembered that today and he 'front and squared' really well. That's when he's really dangerous."

Review all the JLT Community Series results

Ballantyne seemingly secured his spot for round one, while Lyon indicated rookie bolter Bailey Banfield would debut in the season-opener against Port Adelaide. 

Banfield's pressure and ability to hit the scoreboard has catapulted him into the selection mix, and the Claremont product has added plenty to the Dockers' small forward line. 

"I think Bailey Banfield was an important part of that (over pre-season). You would think he's going to play round one," Lyon said.  

"So that pressure, I've always believed that, I've always coached that, [we] probably went away from it a bit but we're back on track in valuing it.

"The best teams have been doing it, so we'd like to jump on board as well.

"It creates a lot of opportunities as well for quick turnover goals." 

WATCH: Langdon smashed by the Ryan Express

The Dockers' intensity was outstanding from the opening bounce in the 62-point hammering of a listless West Coast, and young gun Andrew Brayshaw pushed his case for a debut in round one after laying nine tackles.

"Andy has played two good ones out of three. I thought he was really sharp today," Lyon said. 

"He's doing everything right. We would like to play him. He's an important part of our future and we want to get games into him." 

Lyon declared Stephen (calf) and Bradley Hill (quad) were an "outside chance" to feature against the Power but the Dockers won't take any risks with the classy onballers.

WATCH: Ballantyne snaps his third goal 
 

Tall forward Matthew Taberner is all but certain to be picked to face Port after booting two goals and taking several strong pack marks against the Eagles.

The 199cm big man appears to be growing in confidence with every game after being sent back to the WAFL midway through last year to work on his pressure and ground ball ability.

"He's a big man and he's really starting to play quite big," Lyon said.

"I think us giving him some opportunities one-on-one has helped as well. 

"Some of coaching is about longer-term effect and sometimes things are commented on and written and we know what the bigger picture is and the player does.

"It's not always palatable for the player but sometimes you've got to go through the hard yards and come out the other side and be better for it. 

"At the end of the day the kid's done it himself, no-one does it for you."

WATCH: Brilliance from Neale leads to a goal
 

Despite the positive nature of Sunday's big win, Lyon refused to get carried away with the result.

"Our reality is we're two drafts and heading, you could argue, into the second year of a rebuild," he said. 

"So there's plenty of challenges in front of us but we want to improve our method. 

"We came here to work on our method and our effort and I thought we could walk away saying we did that today."