Dockers haven’t lost faith, says AFL coach

Fremantle players haven’t lost faith in the club’s game plan despite their horror start to the AFL season, according to assistant coach Michael Prior.

The Dockers’ premiership hopes are already on thin ice after opening their season with disappointing losses to the Bulldogs and Suns.

Some experts believe the league-wide trend towards more attacking, free-flowing football has left the normally-miserly Dockers all at sea.

Fremantle’s attempt to evolve into a more attacking side this season has started disastrously, with coach Ross Lyon conceding the team’s new centre-square tactics have been a failure.

The Dockers conceded a worrying 6.1 from centre-square stoppages against Gold Coast – a far cry from their efforts that took them to the minor premiership last season.

Brownlow medallist Nat Fyfe admits the team’s confidence has been shaken by their inability to execute the new game plan.

Fremantle face another stern challenge when they take on West Coast in Saturday night’s western derby at Domain Stadium.

Lyon will consider scrapping the new centre-square tactics, but Prior dismissed concerns the players had been rattled by the poor start to the season.

“I don’t think the players will lose faith at all,” Prior told Perth radio station 6PR.

“We’ve got a really good, coachable group. They’re heavily involved with the input as well.

“We’ve created an environment in our meetings where they’ve got the opportunity to talk.

“We listen and learn from them as well. If we think we’ve got all the answers, we’re kidding ourselves.”

Fremantle have built a reputation for being one of the best defensive teams in the league since Lyon took over in 2012.

But that record is in danger of being wiped away after the Dockers conceded scores of 103 and 126 in the opening two rounds.

Prior said the coaching group’s decision to implement new tactics this season was a necessary switch in order to keep “moving with the times”.

“You can’t stay stagnant. You’ve got to try things,” Prior said.

“Even when you’re at the very peak of your game, if you stay still and don’t try things, you’re not going to improve.

“If you look at American sport. When they’re at the peak of their powers, they still implement change. That’s what we’re about as well.”

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