Fremantle coach Ross Lyon admits winning is no longer the overriding priority this year as he attempts to salvage something out of the AFL club’s train wreck of a season.
The Dockers slumped to 0-7 following Saturday night’s 18-point loss to GWS.
Fremantle were brave, but ultimately outgunned in the 14.11 (95) to 11.11 (77) loss.
And things are only set to get a whole lot more painful for the Dockers, who face off against defending premiers Hawthorn at Aurora Stadium on Saturday.
With Fremantle’s finals hopes already up in smoke, Lyon will use the rest of the season to give more young players opportunities.
Against GWS, the likes of Ethan Hughes, Hayden Crozier, Alex Pearce, and Connor Blakely were given important AFL match practice, while Darcy Tucker and Brady Grey are other young players who have been given a go this season.
Lyon said although he was still striving to win, it wasn’t the ultimate priority given his side’s position.
“We are on record as saying out of adversity comes opportunity for young players,” Lyon said.
“We are doing that.
“You’ve got to write your own story, so there’s 15 rounds left to write a story of improvement, of endeavour and of growth and emerging talent.
“That’s the story we want to write.”
Fremantle have lost eight of their past nine matches to Hawthorn, and will start as rank underdogs in Saturday’s clash.
With stars such as Nat Fyfe, Aaron Sandilands, Michael Johnson, and Harley Bennell injured, Fremantle are in danger of being on the receiving end of a heavy loss.
Lyon says whatever happens, it will be a good learning experience for his group.
“Well what better place to grow,” Lyon said.
“Stress under load equals growth. So there’ll be plenty of stress and plenty of load, so let’s hope there’s plenty of growth.”
The Dockers received another blow over the weekend when hard luck story Anthony Morabito injured his hamstring.
Morabito, who has undergone three knee reconstructions since 2010, has now suffered two hamstring injuries this year.
The 24-year-old suffered his latest setback while playing his fourth WAFL match of the season.
Lyon said the injury was only minor, but it means Morabito’s hopes of an AFL recall will need to be put on ice yet again.