Main content

'No better man for the job': Dockers defender backs Ross as boss

Max back, forgotten Hawk returns, Saint hamstrung Nat Edwards with all the latest footy news

FREMANTLE defender Joel Hamling has thrown his full support behind under-pressure coach Ross Lyon, declaring there is "no better man for the job" ahead of a crunch game against Hawthorn in Launceston.  

The Dockers have been battered publicly in the wake of their 91-point shellacking in the Western Derby, with Lyon copping the brunt of the criticism.  

During his media conference on Wednesday, Lyon defiantly guaranteed he would be at the helm for the final season of his current contract in 2020. 

Lyon says he will remain at the Dockers. Picture: AFL Photos

Hamling, the former Bulldogs premiership backman who was elevated to Freo's leadership group this year, said Lyon was the man to take the Dockers forward.

The ex-St Kilda mentor is set to take charge for his 300th match as coach (170-5-124 record) against long-time nemesis Alastair Clarkson this round. 

"Ross has been brilliant in my three years (at Fremantle). I've had no better coach than Ross," Hamling said. 

"He's really taught me the rights and wrongs of playing AFL football, and there's no better man for the job.  

"I personally respect Ross. The whole playing group is behind him as well.  

"For myself, personally, I'd love to have Ross around as long as I can." - Joel Hamling

After three straight losses, including defeats to struggling Melbourne and Carlton, the Dockers have slipped out of the eight to 11th and could tumble as low as 14th if results go against them this round.

Fremantle has a tough task bouncing back against the Hawks, who have had the wood on the Dockers and won 14 of the past 16 meetings stretching back to 2008.  

"Every game is a crunch game for us. We'll get down there and give it our best shot," Hamling said.

"It's certainly a big one. Every game we play is a big one, like I said, but definitely travelling as well down to Tasmania.

"Our record hasn't been great down there (1-10) but there's no better chance for us to really showcase what we're made of as a group." 

Find AFL Exchange on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify.

The Dockers last played in Launceston in 2016, when they lost to Hawthorn by 41 points.  

Michael Walters, David Mundy, Stephen Hill, Ed Langdon, Ethan Hughes, Hayden Ballantyne and Connor Blakely are the only members of that side who could face the Hawks this Saturday.

Walters fires a handball off against the Hawks in 2016. Picture: AFL Photos

Hill is expected to be on the direct flight to Launceston on Thursday after overcoming a hamstring strain, while young ruckman Sean Darcy will replace veteran Aaron Sandilands and lock-down defender Ryan Nyhuis is a chance to return. 

Injured spearhead Jesse Hogan is back running at high speed after his mid-foot sprain three weeks ago, but the Dockers don't have many other reinforcements coming with only Brennan Cox (hip) likely to be seen again this season.