Fremantle coach Ross Lyon insists his team’s inability to find the “Holy Grail” of scoring in recent months hasn’t left his players fragile heading into the AFL finals.
The Dockers’ scoring output has dropped significantly in the second half of the season, with some experts questioning whether Lyon’s charges have enough firepower to win the flag.
Fremantle kicked 100 points or more in five of their opening eight matches this season, but they have failed to reach triple figures ever since.
Consecutive losses have left their hold on top spot shaky, but Lyon doesn’t believe there’s anything to panic about.
“I’ve done some research on confidence and really … confidence is just a feeling,” Lyon said.
“Action builds confidence.
“Over a long period of time we find ourselves on top of the ladder.
“We acknowledge over the last six weeks we haven’t hit the 100-point mark – that Holy Grail that everyone bangs on about.
“But my belief never waivers in this group.”
The Dockers have a chance to regain their scoring mojo on Sunday when they host the struggling Demons at Domain Stadium.
Skipper Matthew Pavlich makes his return after overcoming Achilles tendon soreness, but Brownlow medal favourite Nat Fyfe will miss the next two weeks because of a leg injury.
Lyon said last week’s loss to North Melbourne was a “half glass full” scenario, with the Dockers doing plenty right but just lacking a ruthless edge.
Fremantle booted seven goals in the opening quarter of that match, but they managed just five more for the game.
Melbourne have lost their past 15 matches in Perth, with their last win at Domain Stadium coming in 2004 when the likes of David Neitz and Adam Yze were still playing.
The Demons have managed just two goals up to half-time in recent losses to the Bulldogs and Carlton, and coach Paul Roos wants his team to play “angry” against the Dockers.
“Obviously Paul is a friend of mine,” said Lyon, who previously worked under Roos at Sydney.
“He has come out and told them to play angry – and from Paul they are really strong words.
“I have never heard Paul speak like that, so we expect an angry Melbourne team.”