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Lyon flags round one prospects

Watch the highlights from Freo's 62-point JLT Series win. The Fremantle Dockers and Eagles clash in the JLT.

Senior coach Ross Lyon sees rookie forward Bailey Banfield and young gun midfielder Andrew Brayshaw as a part of the selection mix for Fremantle’s home and away season opener against Port Adelaide in a fortnight.

The 19-year-old Banfield kicked a goal with his 18 disposals in Fremantle’s 62-point defeat of West Coast in Sunday’s JLT Community Series at HBF Arena, impressing Lyon with his ability to apply pressure on opposition defenders.

"I think Bailey Banfield was an important part of that (Fremantle’s forward pressure). You would think he's going to play round one," Lyon said post-match.

"So that pressure, I've always believed that, I've always coached that, [we] probably went away from it a bit but we're back on track in valuing it.

"The best teams have been doing it, so we'd like to jump on board as well.

"It creates a lot of opportunities as well for quick turnover goals." 

Fremantle’s intensity was outstanding from the opening bounce with Brayshaw pushing his case for a debut in round one after laying nine tackles.

"Andy has played two good ones out of three. I thought he was really sharp today," Lyon said.

"He's doing everything right. We would like to play him. He's an important part of our future and we want to get games into him."


Lyon said Hayden Ballantyne's timely return to form agianst West Coast came after the Fremantle goalsneak remembered what makes him so dangerous – crumbing packs.

Ballantyne struggled in Freo’s first two pre-season games but slotted three goals and laid seven tackles at HBF Arena. 

"He improved his front and square work today. At his best he's a front and square (forward) and sometimes we forget that and he forgets that," Lyon said.

"But he remembered that today and he 'front and squared' really well. That's when he's really dangerous."

Lyon said Stephen Hill (calf) and Bradley Hill (quad) were an "outside chance" to feature against the Power but Fremantle won't take any risks with the classy onballers.

Matthew Taberner is all but certain to be picked to face Port after booting two goals and taking several strong pack marks against the Eagles.

The 199cm key forward appears to be growing in confidence with every game after being sent back to the WAFL midway through last year to work on his pressure and ground ball ability.

"He's a big man and he's really starting to play quite big," Lyon said.

"I think us giving him some opportunities one-on-one has helped as well.

"Some of coaching is about longer-term effect and sometimes things are commented on and written and we know what the bigger picture is and the player does.

"It's not always palatable for the player but sometimes you've got to go through the hard yards and come out the other side and be better for it.

"At the end of the day the kid's done it himself, no-one does it for you."

Despite the positive nature of Sunday's big win, Lyon refused to get carried away with the result. 

"Our reality is we're two drafts and heading, you could argue, into the second year of a rebuild," he said.

"So there's plenty of challenges in front of us but we want to improve our method.

"We came here to work on our method and our effort and I thought we could walk away saying we did that today." 


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