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Lyon post-match Q & A: Rd 16 v Demons

Ross Lyon addressed the media following Saturday night's loss to Melbourne in Darwin. Ross Lyon spoke to the media following the loss against Melbourne.

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Was it as simple as losing it out of the middle tonight?
That was a significant component, so at the source, centre square bounce it was one to seven at half time and ended up six to 16. That was really disappointing we obviously need to get better. The conditions were really quite slippery, it was very much a territory game and the around the ground clearances as well. (Max) Gawn is a very special ruckman and at the minute our young guys, Sean Darcy had two games and we brought him back in but we have to wear that and Michael Apeness, compared to the dominance of Max was quite difficult. At ground level we liked our body work but our ability to transition the ball out was at the low end. We turned it over a lot and couldn’t get it out, if we made a big switch or went down the line it didn’t matter they just beat us at the source and at the contest and bringing it out and credit to them. They’re in a position where they lost three games and have a very talented list and have been building for a while but we would have liked to have been better. I thought we fought on until half time we had a couple of 'nearly' moments that would have been by stealth but we would have been within three goals at one point. There were a couple of dropped marks in the goal square but then they went on with the business in the last quarter in the areas that you speak about, centre square bounce, around the ground clearance and that territory battle and they were too physical and locked it in. It was fortunate they were inaccurate and that maybe flattered us, we know it did actually.

We have a young group but we need to get harder consistently and hard in the contests, work harder and reset and give outlet options. There’s no doubt about that and our defenders, it’s pretty hard to judge, they were under siege all night. We put Cerra in the midfield and Brayshaw down back, that’s a good lesson. If you don’t put your midfield pressure on, this is what it feels like. I thought he really competed and Cerra showed his quality, cleanness and ability in there. There are some bits and pieces, I thought Cox showed a bit of quality. It was a difficult night for all of us, so we win and lose together and I’m not separating myself.  

You seem pretty upbeat but you lost by 54 points? How can you be so positive?
I’m just analysing the game, you ask me what happened and Shayne (Shayne Hope – The West reporter) said centre square bounces were significant, I agree with him and gave him the numbers six – 16 and that territory game and we couldn’t get it out. I’m certainly not jumping over tall buildings in single bounds. We need to take the feedback. We play Port Adelaide next week. There’s no saviour for us, we need to work through this. We had eight players under 12 games, its a lot but that’s where we are at and it’s what we’re doing. What you want is Stefan Giro, Bailey Banfield and Cerra and all those guys to understand that’s the level. Melbourne are really a team that’s fighting for top four, I’d imagine, correct me if I’m wrong. I think that would be their aspiration and they have all the tools to do that. Again we’d like to fight, scrap and learn.  

When you’re talking about hardening those players up how do you bring that out in those younger players?
A lit bit is about building their bodies. They have really good young frames on them Cerra, Brayshaw and Banfield they’re going to be big and strong guys. They’ll put on about four-five kilos in their first year. They’ll then put on another four-five kilos on in the next year. Nat Fyfe went from 71 to 91kg in two years in upwards of 20kg. Fyfe’s a really quick adapter and responder but a number of our guys will need to put on weight over three years, so you get bigger and stronger bodies. With the body comes confidence that you can hold your ground and hit in. That’s how it happens and we improve their technique. We do a lot of competing work at training and teach them the technique and the skills to be in the contest.

Going up against Port Adelaide next weekend, what are you going to have to do to bring some of that out within a week?
That’s the challenge. I think if you look at Melbourne they lost their three previous games and had lost against St Kilda, who had won one game for the year. It’s possible and you just have to regroup. I always say that it’s never as good and it’s never as bad and clearly it was pretty bad tonight. Port Adelaide are a significant challenge but we’ve been strong at home, we need to go away and assess. Is there anyone available pushing in? It’s probably unlikely, our Peel Thunder team didn’t play that well and we’ve got a fair injury rate at the minute but we’ll go away and assess. There’s only one way to get better and that’s train hard on the track and recommit. You can’t be defined by results, you’ve just got to take them as feedback and you’ve got to work hard.

You were happy with how the players honoured Nat Fyfe’s 150th milestone, are you disappointed with the performance in Stephen Hill’s 200th?
I think there’s mitigating circumstances. I thought Stephen, he couldn’t have tried any harder tonight. For the third quarter, where it was, to be 24 points down with 10 seconds to go in that quarter, you don’t always live the fairy tale.

I would think Stephen would have looked at his teammates and saw them pretty exhausted and thought ‘sometimes you’re just not good enough’. We weren’t good enough tonight and that’s just sometimes the fact. If people see it differently, I’m happy to hear it, but we weren’t good enough tonight. They were a better quality team than us and that’s just the way it is sometimes.

You spoke about the transition from the defensive 50. You brought in Nathan Wilson in the off-season. Is that something you need to target again or are you happy to use guys like Adam Cerra and Andrew Brayshaw?
If you go back to the Brisbane game, the starting three weren’t there. I think (Connor) Blakely was out, (Nat) Fyfe was out and (Aaron) Sandilands was out. But that’s just life but we know our numbers, when we play good footy, our transitioning was uncharacteristic tonight of those amount of turnovers. You can go and do your own research but if you have a look at it we’ve been pretty healthy in transitioning and scoring with the ball. The last two weeks, not so much.

Any injuries tonight?
Nothing significant.

Do you expect anyone back against Port Adelaide from injury?
Hayden Ballantyne’s an outside chance. We’ve got some young people who played in the twos but I’d have to get the numbers and assess them. Tom North’s down there and Taylin Duman and (Ethan) Hughes were 50/50 (for selection against Melbourne). Taylin’s a chance, a 191cm running defender and really athletic, so he may help. There’s some senior guys down there but I think it’s more about…Mitch Crowden is down there and Harley Bennell played another game. They’re all the things we’ll look at in the cold light of day. We’ll get to it at the right time.

The Andrew Brayshaw tackle on Angus on the wing? Was it exciting in the coaches box when a young player takes down his brother?
Yes, it was really exciting. Brotherly love, he would have tried hard but I think Angus might be more excited with his coach than us, that’s just the way it is.

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