Give Docker Pavlich room to fly: Lyon

Fremantle skipper Matthew Pavlich is being boxed in – and coach Ross Lyon doesn’t like it.

Pavlich has failed to kick a goal in his past three games – a situation that hasn’t occurred since 2011 when the 325-game veteran spent long periods in the midfield.

The Dockers are still two games clear on top of the table despite their recent patchy form.

Pavlich remains the club’s best spearhead, but he’s struggled to find space in recent games against Richmond, Gold Coast, and Collingwood.

Lyon feels Pavlich’s woes are to do with the team’s misfiring forward line rather than the 33-year-old himself.

“Matthew is in pretty good nick, but too many of our forwards are coming across him and near him and their opponents are spoiling the ball,” Lyon said on Thursday.

“I could show you 10 clips where Pav’s got his man beaten and another forward who should’ve moved and led hasn’t, and has spoilt Matthew when he’s about to take the mark.

“There’s two things – a bit slow with the ball at times, and everyone knowing where it’s going and not sacrificing.

“You’ve got to work together. Only one person can get the ball.”

Pavlich will get the chance to land a big goal haul when Fremantle host the struggling Lions at Domain Stadium on Sunday.

Brisbane have lost their past seven games against Fremantle, with their last win against the Dockers coming in round 16, 2009.

Lions vice-captain Pearce Hanley (hamstring tightness) is set to miss Sunday’s match, while ruckman Stef Martin is serving a two-match suspension.

Meanwhile, Lyon says he’s keen for the AFL to close any loopholes in the league’s illicit-drugs policy.

The AFL is set to change its three-strikes drug policy in the wake of the Gold Coast Suns drugs drama, which has seen star midfielder Harley Bennell publicly outed.

“I really like the rehabilitation (aspect) of it,” Lyon said of the illicit-drugs policy.

“But clearly there’s been some situations where it’s been abused – like the self reporting (to avoid a strike), which is a cause of concern to everybody.

“If you can tighten up the policy so that support and welfare aspect stays in, and you can limit the manipulation of it, I would suggest that would be good.”

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