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Neale praises Lyon’s ‘great move’

Andrew Brayshaw and Adam Cerra were turning heads with their performance against Adelaide. Andrew Brayshaw and Adam Cerra were turning heads with their performance against Adelaide.

Fremantle’s thrilling three-point win against Adelaide was set up in part by senior coach Ross Lyon having faith in the talented young players at his disposal, according to Lachie Neale.

With suspended captain Nat Fyfe leaving a hole in Fremantle’s midfield, Lyon used a number of players in the middle, including switching Connor Blakely into the engine room from half-back.

Lyon also brought David Mundy back to the middle from the forwardline, while first-year players Andrew Brayshaw, Bailey Banfield and Stefan Giro spent time in the centre square bounces. 

Blakely’s presence in the midfield opened the door for Adam Cerra to take on the role at half-back – where the 18-year-old shone with 30 disposals, 12 contested possessions, six marks, four tackles and eight inside 50s.

Alongside defender Luke Ryan, Cerra led Fremantle with three intercept marks – one of the traits that impressed Neale most. 

“Some of Cerra’s intercept marking and his composure with the ball for a first-year player, it’s really impressive,” Neale told ABC radio. 

“He and Andy (Brayshaw) have come a long way since coming to the club.

“Chez is sort of that Rolls Royce type player. He’s really silky with the ball and never flustered.

“It’s a credit to him, it was a great move to half back. He learns a bit there too and Connor we know can play midfield so there were good changes this week.” 

Neale also praised 19-year-old Brennan Cox for his four goal performance in the forwardline.

While Cox’s four goals headlined his efforts, Cox worked hard all over the ground with 15km covered – the most of any player on the field – as well as collecting 11 contested possessions.

“He was huge. I thought he was buzzing around all day and I noticed him a lot out there,” Neale said.

“To get onto a few was nice but I thought his presence around the ground was strong as well.

“He’s such a composed player when he’s got the ball too. He’s got a nice little step on him that I wouldn’t mind having to be honest. 

“He played a fantastic game and he’s just in his second year so he can only improve from here.”

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