AN UNUSUALLY jovial Fremantle coach Ross Lyon says he decided not to move defender Sam Collins away from West Coast full-forward Josh Kennedy to give the youngster an idea of how tough the AFL can be.
Lyon, whose post-match press conference was punctuated by coughing fits caused by the chocolate almonds he had eaten in the coaches' room minutes earlier, said he was pleased with his team’s first half against the Eagles.
He was particularly pleased with the efforts of a handful of youngsters and said Collins had been given an opportunity to "understand what the level’s about" by playing on Kennedy, who starred with seven goals.
"We could have made the change a bit earlier, but we thought at least we get a bit of experience here," Lyon said.
"(Eventually), we thought, 'it’s probably time', and I thought Alex Silvagni did a pretty good job.
"… I mean, Kennedy has won the (Ross Glendinning) medal and Collins gets to go away and have a look at it and try and improve."
Lyon also singled out praise for midfielder Tommy Sheridan, who curbed the influence of West Coast wingman Andrew Gaff, along with returning ruckman Aaron Sandilands, and running players Darcy Tucker and Lachie Weller.
But he was particularly pleased with the efforts of mature-aged forward Shane Yarran and youngster Michael Apeness.
Apeness only managed seven possessions and four marks, but three of his possessions led directly to goals and he also helped to bring the ball to ground in the marking contests.
"We know we’ve played him early, but he competed well, he plays really tall and strong and (brings that) second effort," Lyon said.
"He’s had a reco, an ACL before he got here, then a PCL, so we see nothing but upside in Michael and with the opportunity we are prepared to give, it’s pleasing because we know he is a really dedicated worker and focused on his footy, so with a little bit of luck after he has worked as hard as he can, we should improve that."
Lyon was not prepared to talk about the resignation of senior development coach Peter Sumich, only saying that Sumich was with the club for another few weeks yet.