Fremantle coach Ross Lyon says it’s not the time to bend to individual agendas, stating he will use the remainder of the AFL season to see which players will “dig in” for him.
Rumours of player unrest at the Dockers are growing following the club’s disastrous season, which has yielded just three wins from 20 games.
Contracted goalsneak Hayden Ballantyne has requested a trade, while a host of other players are also set to exit the club – not all of them voluntarily.
Assistant coach Peter Sumich left the club abruptly last week, while president Steve Harris has announced he’ll step down at the end of the season, to be replaced by vice-president Dale Alcock.
Lyon said Harris’ retirement after seven years as president had been planned for some time, and Sumich was unlikely to have been at the club anyway in 2017.
The veteran coach was asked about the rumours of player unrest following the team’s 72-point loss to Adelaide on Sunday.
Lyon said he was comfortable with his coaching style, and that it was important to determine which players were committed to the cause.
“I’ve been (in league footy) since I was 16, so it’s 34 years,” Lyon said.
“And you look at clubs that are strong and work their way under pressure.
“And then (you see) those that are held captive without strong leadership to individual agendas, and I think that’s toxic.
“But I see it as a real opportunity (now) to see those that dig in.
“That’s the beauty of experience. I see this as an opportunity. There’s always a loud minority, and there’s always people prepared to listen to a loud minority.
“But for me, I just want to continue to be the coach that Matthew Pavlich wanted his whole career.
“That’s what he wrote in his book, didn’t he? I’m the coach that he always hoped for. I’m pretty comfortable continuing in that vein. It’s not a bad spot to be.”
Michael Barlow, Anthony Morabito, Matt de Boer, Tendai Mzungu, Nick Suban, Zac Clarke, Hayden Ballantyne, Jack Hannath, Alex Silvagni, Chris Mayne, and Clancee Pearce are no guarantees to be at the club next year, while veteran Matthew Pavlich will retire.
Lyon said Ballantyne had asked for a two-year contract extension earlier this year.
But it now appears the 29-year-old wants out, with a shift to cross-town rivals West Coast a very real prospect.
The Dockers could be in for some more on-field pain this week when they take on GWS at Spotless Stadium on Saturday.
Ruckman Aaron Sandilands appears set to miss the trip after his glute tightened up against the Crows, while Pavlich will be rested ahead of his round-23 farewell game against the Bulldogs.