Fremantle coach Ross Lyon concedes he’s facing a delicate balancing act after collecting an unwanted AFL record.
The Dockers slipped to a 33-point loss to Adelaide on Saturday – their sixth consecutive defeat in a grim season.
The Crows’ 14.13 (97) to 8.16 (64) win at Adelaide Oval gives Fremantle an inglorious record: they’re the first club in AFL history to finish minor premiers the previous year and start the next season with six straight losses.
“I have always coached with huge expectation – there was coming in this year,” Lyon said.
“Clearly we have disappointed so then you have to realign and think `where are we at?’.”
Lyon said the realignment was delicate – regenerating the Dockers while not disrespecting seasoned campaigners.
“It’s hard to keep your full integrity for selection but as long as our young players are giving great effort and trying their hardest, then you can pick them,” he said.
“You have got to be careful when you’re picking a team that you keep integrity because you can’t value things and say you value things, and then pick people that aren’t exhibiting those values.”
Lyon said he remained enthusiastic despite the Dockers’ unheralded predicament.
“Every day I wake up, I see opportunity … I see possibility,” he said.
“And everything starts with possibility. See where you want to be and get into action and keep the action until you achieve.
“How long that takes, I don’t know. But I know that model works.”
What didn’t work for Lyon’s Dockers on Saturday was kicking at goal – Freo were a wasteful 3.14 at three quarter-time, 32 points behind the Crows.
“The scoreboard didn’t reflect how well we were going,” he said.
The frequent misses gifted the Crows control en route to a fourth win of the season.
“We played an opposition that was desperate, was coming off a poor start to the season,” Adelaide coach Don Pyke said.
“And whilst we maybe didn’t play to the standard we wanted to play to, it was really pleasing we found a way (to win).”
Adelaide ace Eddie Betts kicked four goals and vice-captain Rory Sloane was influential with 31 disposals but what pleased Pyke most was the spread of contributors – the Crows had 18 players who collected more than 15 disposals.
“We are not relying on one or two players to get it done and I’m seeing as a real strength,” Pyke said.