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'We never doubted him': Lyon's praise after Sonny's sealer

Lyon on Walters: 'We never doubted him' Ross Lyon recognised Michael Walters as a 'pretty special player' and says the club were rapt to get the result they deserved

FREMANTLE coach Ross Lyon never doubted indigenous star Michael Walters would step up in the clutch moment and deliver a fitting finale to Sir Doug Nicholls Round against Brisbane on Sunday.

After kicking the only major of a gripping final term, Walters marked on the lead 40m from goal seconds before the siren and had the game on his boot with scores level at 72-72.

The Dockers gun got under his kick but it hit high on the goalpost to secure a crucial victory, which keeps Freo's finals dream well and truly alive at 5-5.

SONNY WINS IT FOR FREO Full match coverage and stats

"I thought it was a bit of a popgun (kick) at the end, but in the end it went post-high, so we never doubted him," Lyon said.

 

Lyon's emotions were running high in the aftermath of a tense triumph, and he lavished praise on Walters and fellow indigenous players Nathan Wilson (30 disposals), Joel Hamling, Bradley Hill, Alex Pearce and Brandon Matera (one goal) for standing up on a big occasion.

 

Speedy wingman Hill was the Dockers' standout, racking up 31 touches with four inside 50s, and helped Freo surge home with his hard running and elite ball distribution.

"He plays like that every week, really. He's always been running, we just haven't utilised him in the manner we should," Lyon said.

"But now we're utilising our runners."

WATCH Ross Lyon's full post-match media conference

The Dockers were once again wasteful with some opportunities going into attack, and Lyon defended boom forward recruit Jesse Hogan (eight handballs), who went kickless for the first time in his 79-game career.

"Jesse is still coming to hand within the system. It was a really tough night, we didn't deliver it that well to Jesse at times," Lyon said.

 

"The last quarter we brought him up the ground and he got involved and had some really significant moments.

"It's tough being a key forward. It's really tough. Greasy night, I thought his contest was strong, (Brennan) Cox's (two goals) second half was better.

"He (Hogan) will come. He had five shots on goal, kicked 1.4, the week before and we could've hit him a few times.

"(He's coming) off a minimal pre-season. Where he's going to end up in eight years is going to be unbelievable for this club, I have no doubt."

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While the Dockers were thrilled by steadying their season after three straight losses, they were also buoyed on Saturday by Harley Bennell's excellent comeback at Peel.

In his first game for the year after more calf woes, Bennell racked up 30 touches and booted two goals in a five-point loss to West Perth, and pulled up well.

"Showed his class, but he's got plenty of building to do, but it's exciting for Harley and us," Lyon said.