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Ross Lyon Q & A: Rd 20 v Gold Coast

Ross Lyon spoke to the media after Saturday's win against the Suns. Watch Fremantle's press conference after round 20's match against Gold Coast.

Was it good for the young guys to sing the song?
It's always good to have a win and sing the song. It's been a while since we've been able to do that. But we've been in a lot of tight, competitive games. We feel like we're improving. The way we played tonight - they've got their challenges as we have. And they’re rebooting in a real sense with O'Meara gone, Swallow rebooting his career and Bennell gone. They're not dissimilar. They've got some injuries. It was nice to get it done tonight, and the way we played was quite strong. We had some patches where we flirted with what we were doing. But over the night, I thought our ball movement and stoppage work was quite strong, so it was pleasing.

How do you explain losing contested ball by so much yet winning?
I don't know. Champion (Data) might have had a bad night. We might have been getting more than they produced. But the game is played as much on the outside as it is on the inside. I thought we limited the damage. We etackled pretty strongly. When we got the ball, we spread it really well and used it really well.

Unusual number for a winning team?
It happens.

You had 30 scoring shots from 48 entries.  Are you pleased?
We're going to have bigger challenges. We're walking into one next week - Sydney are elite defensively. But our connection - we've been focusing on it, and that's coming along. We're using Cameron McCarthy slightly differently, and it seems to be working for him. And Nathan going forward - less time in the midfield is helping as well. I thought Brennan Cox impacted up forward. There's still plenty of work to do there. We understand where both teams are at tonight. But if you draw a line through our form, it's been relatively consistent without getting it done. So the feedback to the group was you need four quarters - not three, three and a half, a half. So we took our form out of GWS we think.

What are you doing different with Cam McCarthy
He's just playing a bit higher, and running around a bit more. Just freed him up a little bit. With Brennan in the team and Mundy and Fyfe playing forward, it allows that to happen. It makes it more flexible.

He's more suited to that role?
I think so. He hadn't played for 12 months. He's an incredibly good athlete - speed, endurance, and very mobile. Playing deeper probably doesn't suit him. He can do it, and I think that will come. But after a year off, that mobility helps him best. I think we saw that tonight. We saw it last week without being rewarded. We just want signs of growth. There was lots of growth – Griffin Logue, Tucker, Luke Ryan, Brennan Cox. Those sort of players, we need them to keep going. And our older  heads or our good players stood up. Our midfield got it done tonight. They were pretty good for three quarters last week but fell away. There's some reasonable signs.

How pleased were you with Luke Ryan’s response after he was dropped?
It’s important that once you are challenged you respond. Everyone is going to get challenged and if you don’t respond you’re not worth being here. It’s pretty simple for me. Players rget challenged and those that don’t respond we basically move on. It was important that both boys responded.

Is he shaping as your find of the year now?
I’m not in a position to assert those sort of opinions at this point, but he has certainly taken a step forward.

Has Nick Suban turned around his career?
He is certainly working hard. I just stay on the week-to-week treadmill. You’ve got me at a real disadvantage, I’m not in the position to discuss careers and longevity. I’m happy to talk about tonight’s performance, this isn’t the forum and it’s not my role as much as I play my part but I'll get asked that stuff at list management meetings at the end of the year.

How is Brady Grey?
Slight hammy, 21 days disappointing. But under some pressure most weeks, we’ve lost one early but that hadn’t happened for awhile, bar the last two weeks. I thought we ran it out strongly and made a conscious effort to make sure we’ve got some systems in place which has probably been prior to that a bit of a weakness but we have a system in place where we can handle if a back, or a mid of a forward goes down and I thought the coaches executed that tonight. It was really pleasing what they are doing.

Do you expect Sean Darcy to come back next week?
It’s something we’ll look at.

Does it please you when he comes out publically and says he tried to argue against being rested?
The desire to play is strong and sometimes you have to save them from themselves but he is a competitive young man. Jon stood up tonight so we managed Sean the week before. He made need some more management, we’re not too sure.

What did you make of Hayden Ballantyne?
I thought his tackling and chase was strong he could have kicked three tonight, it’s a handy return for a small forward, that would give you 66 for the year. We are really pleased with what he is bringing to the table. As you know when you miss a big chunk of football and you tear your tendon in half and have it repaired under surgery you guys know know hard that is to come back from , it takes awhile. When he came back he reinjured it, so you are probably looking at 15 weeks of rehab. You just don’t flick a switch, but it’s not like we have a plethora of small forwards running round that we can just bring it, it doesn’t work like that. I am pleased with the work he is doing.


The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs