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'Strong consideration' for Blakely inclusion

Lyon talks selection Ross Lyon talks to the media leading into the clash against Essendon

Defender/midfielder Connor Blakely is a serious consideration for selection for Saturday’s clash with Essendon at Marvel Stadium, according to senior coach Ross Lyon.

Lyon said the Fremantle playing group have made it hard for anyone to break into the team due to those in the starting 22 playing their roles.

But after consecutive losses to Adelaide and Richmond, Lyon said that Blakely is firming to play his first game for 2019 after sustaining a hamstring injury in January.

“(Connor’s) the most obvious one. I heard all the noise around Connor and the reality is the team had been very consistent,” Lyon said.

“(The players) have been doing their jobs. With two losses, you need to look more closely and also, you’re always trying to add to your team and bring a freshness if you can.

“He’ll come under serious consideration…we’re working in collaboration (at the selection table) and valuing your assistants and respecting them and all the players involved.

“We’re preparing for Essendon now and we’ll get to our initial discussion later this (Wednesday) afternoon. With the work he’s done, he’s under serious consideration.”

Lyon said that he expects Blakely to be close to peak fitness if selected.

“He’s built (his fitness) and certainly you can’t pick AFL teams with restrictions because it’s too debilitating on everyone else,” Lyon said.

“No-one plays 100 per cent of the game, he plays midfield or a half back or half forward percentage and he’s ready to go.

“(Connor’s had) last week’s and this week’s training, so it’s really a two week build.”

Lyon said that he remains wary of the Bombers, who have gone close to winning two of their past three games.

“We go to Marvel Stadium and Essendon have lost a few on the trot. I looked at their form and I think it was Sydney and Collingwood by less than a kick. 

“We looking to start well and they’ll be hungry for a win. Equal forces meet each other but we’re going over there really determined to being the best version of ourselves.”

Lyon said he is not expecting to utilise a tag against a star-studded Bombers midfield that includes Dylan Shiel and Zach Merrett.

“Every week you come up against great mids…we like our team defence, we like that we’ve been proactive, I don’t want to get too defensive and tag people,” Lyon said.

“We’ll consider it. Merrett is a great player (but) if you just make good decisions when it’s your turn to make them defensively, everyone can cope with it.

“We know (Shiel’s) best is very good, he’s having a super year. Those inside mids get judged very harshly about their disposals considering the amount of pressure on you in the modern game.

“We probably won’t tag but we’ll make sure that we respect his ability. We’d like to be proactive in there.”

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