Fremantle coach Ross Lyon denies he considered trading Michael Barlow at the end of last year, saying a move away from the Dockers was never on the cards for the AFL midfielder.
Barlow’s career appeared at the crossroads at the end of last season, and again last month after he was dropped back to WAFL ranks following the club’s round-seven loss to GWS.
But the 28-year-old is now on track to earn a contract extension with the Dockers for next year after starring as a tagger over the past fortnight.
Barlow restricted Essendon star David Zaharakis to just 11 disposals while collecting 26 himself.
And in last week’s 83-point win over Brisbane, Barlow kept Brisbane’s Daniel Rich to just 18 touches and a goal.
Barlow was reportedly in the mix to be traded to GWS at the end of last season as part of Fremantle’s attempt to secure Giants forward Cameron McCarthy.
But Lyon rubbished those claims.
“I forget who wrote those articles last year. But they were 100 per cent inaccurate,” Lyon said on Thursday.
“It certainly wasn’t driven from within, it wasn’t driven by Michael. So 100 per cent inaccurate.
“I’d like to be really strong on that. Just because it’s written, it doesn’t make it accurate.”
Lyon feels Barlow has been refreshed by his new tagging role.
But he was quick to point out it wasn’t a complete lock-down job, with Barlow also encouraged to win his own ball and hurt his rival at the other end.
“It’s invigorated Michael, and it’s forced some tactical involvement from the whole team to keep that tag in place,” Lyon said.
“So we’ve enjoyed that. It’s really what we used to do a lot more of – throw some stuff at the opposition that they need to react to.”
Fremantle will be aiming to make it three wins on the trot when they take on Port Adelaide at Domain Stadium on Saturday.