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Ross Lyon Q & A: Rd 21 v Sydney  August 12, 2017 1:31 PM

Ross Lyon chats to the media after Freo's clash against the Swans.

Ross Lyon chats to the media after Freo's clash against the Swans.


What did you make of that?

It was obviously disappointing. We were disappointed, we didn’t compete in the manner required at quarter time. That was the message. It might sound odd, but I thought our hit in the second quarter improved and they (Sydney) really pressured in the first half. 44 tackles to something like 13. That was disappointing. Then it was important we fought on in a manner, even though in the first half we lost by 74 points and in the second half by 29 points. In the third quarter we had more shots. There was enough character that got shown, we just didn’t totally surrender, so that was important.

They are a hard-nosed professional team, we looked at it coming in and they had four players different from last year and we had 14 or 15. That is quite significant, but I am loathed to make excuses. But those are the facts. I think we had seven first-year players.

We spoke internally about how pleased we are with the number of tight games we’ve been in and where we’ve been competitive. However, there is always a concern that these games are around the corner against quality teams that are dog-hungry.  I spoke to the players at the end. There are two levels in the AFL, those players that participate and make a living. Then there are those players and teams who are serious about premierships and you play with intent and attack on the ball. The Swans played like this today and have displayed this for a lot of this year. That is the lesson our young group need to take out of it. We got a few that already understand that. I thought Fyfe really dug in and was overwhelmed and Stephen Hill dug in. But you need weight in numbers. Those young players need to learn that lesson. You don’t sit in your bubble in Perth and people slap you on the back after you beat Gold Coast. This is the real AFL. That is what we spoke about. Once they learn that, we can go forward. They were the main issues.

If you want to talk about mechanics it was centre square bounces where we got obliterated early and for the majority. When they got the ball in the D-50 and defensive mid,  they just swept it the whole way. It came out pretty easy but no one was on their man in a manner that they should have been and they allowed easy goals. That was the mechanics of it.

You talk about two levels of the AFL, those you can make a living and those who want to win premierships. Do you have that in your change room?

We think we do but it takes time to get to that level.

Our club has been at that level of playing in finals and prelims for a period of time and when I was at St Kilda. I understand what it looks like and what it feels like and the intent.  So does Fyfe and so does Hill,  but over time you are going to filter out of your club those that do and those who don’t. We think there is a bit of character and we understand it is a part of the journey.

At the first break you brought your players in early. Was that to stem the damage?

Just to reiterate, I said we need to compete, I can’t polish this, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, probably is a duck. I probably didn’t use that analogy. You can't polish that. It wasn’t about mechanics, it was about competing. Get the hit around the ball and we let ourselves down. It’s important from here. It was about more than this game. It is always about more than the game you are playing. There is a big picture. In a sense, we did that in a manner.

Out of the younger group of players, was there anyone that stood out?

No, not particularly.

The first half, was that as uncompetitive as this team has been all season?

I think we've seen a couple of glimpses, Adelaide in the wet. Brisbane, maybe you could throw in Port Adelaide’s first half. The Port game we were more inexperienced. You are going to win and lose. That is where we are at. But it's taking the feedback and improving. We have played some good teams and played some pretty good football at times. We understand that we need more consistency, But it’s going to happen.

What can you get out of the final two games – Richmond and Essendon?

It’s really important to improve your footy, go hard at the ball and strike the ball. Learn about pressure and big time football. Big time pressure is 44 tackles in the first half at home. Taking any risk out of the contest early. That is what it's about. We are playing Richmond next week and they are a very good team. We beat them early in the year and we know our best is capable. We need to deliver that.

What about the process of Cam McCarthy, he got two goals today?

It is always good to get two goals. That is six in two weeks. That isn’t too bad.

Mundy copped one in the first quarter and came back. Is he OK? Did you suffer any other injuries.

I haven’t had an update yet. Mundy came back on, Neale is a bit sore. Nothing significant.