Dockers contemplate wielding the axe

Fremantle players will be on edge this week as coach Ross Lyon considers wielding the axe in the wake of the club’s horror start to the AFL season.

The Dockers are struggling in 16th spot with a 0-3 record following losses to the Bulldogs, Gold Coast, and West Coast.

No team has ever reached the finals from an 0-4 start, and the Dockers will start as underdogs in Sunday’s clash with unbeaten North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium.

Lyon admits his team’s new-look attacking game plan hasn’t worked to date.

But he said players needed to take responsibility for their sloppy skills and costly turnovers.

Fremantle ruckman Jon Griffin is almost certain to return against the Kangaroos to fill the void left by Aaron Sandilands (lung/ribs).

But Lyon will consider making a host of other changes in a bid to inject players with cleaner skills into the side.

Hayden Crozier leads the list of possible inclusions after starring in the WAFL over the weekend.

And even if Lyon doesn’t make any more changes beyond that, the player group is now on notice to clean up their skills.

“Clearly we need better kickers – people who can execute under pressure and hit some targets,” Lyon said.

“There are some terrible turnovers at the minute that are really costly.

“I’m really loath to be negative about this player group because of how much effort and how hard they work.

“But we know we need to improve our execution. Individuals have to take responsibility for that improvement.”

Veteran forward Matthew Pavlich was a rare shining light against the Eagles, booting a contender for goal of the year in the final term to give his side hope of pulling off victory.

Pavlich ended the match with three goals, but he’s no certainty to play against the Kangaroos given the hard surface at Etihad Stadium.

The Dockers are keen to protect Pavlich’s ageing body from breaking down.

But given the high-stakes nature of Sunday’s match, they may be forced to play him.

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