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Nyhuis presents Lyon with derby options

Tom Fee  July 14, 2017 1:40 PM

AFL 2017 Round 16 - North Melbourne v Fremantle

Usually a defender, Ryan Nyhuis kicked four goals on debut against North Melbourne in round 16.

Senior coach Ross Lyon has backed first year player Ryan Nyhuis to perform in any role in Sunday’s Carlton Draught Derby against West Coast at Domain Stadium.

Starting as an emergency replacement for David Mundy against North Melbourne last Sunday, the defender played an unfamiliar defensive forward role on debut and kicked four goals, including the match winner.

Lyon said Nyhuis was likely to continue in the same role against West Coast, possibly playing on Eagles key defender Jeremy McGovern.

McGovern shone against Fremantle in the round six derby earlier in the season, taking 12 marks, including eight intercept marks as a part of the Eagles backline.

“Everyone thought Nyhuis (is a defender) but he’s just stamped himself as a forward,” Lyon said.

“We’ve looked it over and we think he’ll play forward.

“West Coast have some great roll-off defenders - against Port I think (Port Adelaide’s) first four entries (West Coast) marked.

The Eagles pose a big test for Nyhuis in his second game, but Lyon said it would be a good experience for the 20-year-old.

“We thought he did that really well and we’ll set him up to succeed again and give him that opportunity,” Lyon said.

“(Nyhuis playing on McGovern) is something we’ve spoken about, if he could do that it would be fantastic.

“Ryan’s quite powerful, he has a big body, he’s a big man. He put on eight to 10 kilos at the club over the past two years and he’s got some real pop as well. That explosiveness held him in good stead playing forward as he can close them down and he can get off them.”

Lyon said Nyhuis may also be called on to play in defence if key defender Joel Hamling doesn’t recover from a sore hip after sustaining a cork against North Melbourne.

Young key defender Sam Collins may also be utilised in the backline in what would be Collins’ second game of the season and 14th of his career.

“Every day (Joel’s) getting better,” Lyon said.

“It was a significant cork, so even today he won’t train. We’ll just loosen him up again and probably give him a test tomorrow at some point.

“We’re really optimistic, I know it looked quite bad. I thought it was more than a cork but they just had to put a local in and it got to a spot where he wasn’t functioning that well.

“We’ll look to two options (if Joel doesn’t play) - with the path we’re on we would play Sam.

“But we could pick a team and that would involve Nyhuis playing down back without Sam Collins coming in. They’re the two options.”