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The key focus behind Freo’s big win

Senior coach Ross Lyon addressed the media following Fremantle's win. Hear from Ross Lyon following Saturday's 57-point win against Carlton at Etihad Stadium

Fremantle travelled to Etihad Stadium to face Carlton with one primary focus as they broke their duck on the road with a 57-point win on Saturday.

Coming off a six-day break with Carlton having a bye, Fremantle forward Michael Apeness said the focus was to be fierce around the contest early, especially up front.

The tactic paid dividends with Fremantle laying 71 tackles in total for the day. Heading into the round, Fremantle were averaging 58 tackles per game.

Tommy Sheridan laid Freo's most tackled with eight while Stefan Giro, Hayden Ballantyne, Bailey Banfield, Andrew Brayshaw and Luke Ryan laid five each.

“Obviously, they were coming off the bye and we had a six day break so we just tried to focus on that forward half pressure,” Apeness said.

“We came out in the first half and really pressured them and tried to lock it in. We were really trying to make sure they couldn’t get it out easily.

“I think we did that really well which was good to see, especially as we kicked some goals out of it.” 

Apeness took three contested marks and kicked a goal – a total that could have been higher if he didn’t unselfishly hand off two goals within close range to teammates.

“Today was good. I took a few clunks and the boys were getting it in the forward 50 well, so it was good to hold onto a few,” Apeness said.

Playing in his third game back from almost two-years on the sidelines due to injury, Apeness felt he struggled late following his impressive start to the game.

“My body’s feeling good,” Apeness said.

“I’ve still got to work on a bit of fitness as I feel I faded out in the second half but it’s all going well.” 

The game was the 201cm big man’s first this season alongside ruckman Aaron Sandilands, who took the reins as Freo’s lead ruckman.

Sandilands delivered a vintage performance with 40 hitouts while Apeness rotated through with eight.

“Spider (Sandilands) did a great job in the ruck today,” Apeness said.

“He really helped me out, we kept flipping in the ruck and the big fella helped me with his communication which was handy.”

Apeness said that the playing group had spoken about putting in a determined performance for captain Nat Fyfe’s 150th game.

“We discussed it, because he’s such a great player for the club and he’s the captain,” Apeness said. 

“Obviously, every game you want to win but knowing that it was Fyfey’s 150th, we made sure we came out hard in that first half and got the win.”

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