Fremantle coach Ross Lyon insists there’s been no brutality behind closed doors despite the club’s disastrous start to the AFL season, but admits even his own family are asking him why the Dockers have fallen in a heap so quickly.
Pressure is building on Lyon and the Dockers following their 0-5 start to 2016.
Long-term injuries to Nat Fyfe, Harley Bennell, Michael Johnson and Aaron Sandilands have deepened the crisis, with Fremantle’s finals’ hopes already over heading into Saturday’s clash with the Crows in Adelaide.
Lyon is locked into the Dockers until the end of 2020, and says he’s committed to helping last year’s minor premiers bounce back to flag contention.
“I get it at home – what’s happened? How do you go from there to there?” Lyon said.
“I say, ‘I haven’t got time – I’ve got to get to work’.
“We’ve let some things slip but, fundamentally, it’s been our ball use centre back that’s gone skewiff.
“And sometimes when you’re learning new things, it takes time to transition. But we’re confident we’ll come through this – I’m really committed to 2020. So I’m in.
“We are quite galvanised in that there’s no brutality behind the doors.”
Lyon has often been criticised for not giving enough opportunities to young players during his 10-year senior coaching stints at St Kilda then Fremantle.
But Lyon hit back on Wednesday, calling it “fingernail deep analysis”.
The 59-year-old says the emergence of Lachie Neale, Cameron Sutcliffe, Matt Taberner, Tom Sheridan and Alex Pearce was proof he was giving young players a chance.
And Lyon is adamant he has the right skill-set to lead the club out of its mire.
“Pre-me, this club fought. In my period here, we’ve won lots of games of footy and played with great spirit and effort,” Lyon said.
“I’ve seen other people sit back over four years and, with their list managers, clubs develop lists and develop teams. I’ve seen a lot fail. I’ve seen some come through.
“With my background – three grand finals, prelims, 10 years as an assistant, VFL coach, 10 years playing – I think I’ve got some capacity to develop this club and this team.
“I certainly back myself in.”
Fyfe (broken leg) and Johnson (knee/hamstring) underwent surgery this week in Melbourne after Sunday’s loss to Carlton.
But while Johnson is expected to return later in the year, Fyfe might be held back until 2017.
The Dockers were dealt another blow when star defender Cale Hooker chose to re-sign with Essendon on a five-year deal, rather than go to Fremantle on a lucrative free agency offer.
Fremantle skipper David Mundy (calf) is set to return against the Crows, while defenders Garrick Ibbotson and Alex Silvagni are also in line to bolster the besieged backline.