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Fremantly Football Club

Lyon emotional about farewells

'It's going to be a great atmosphere' - Lyon Ross Lyon spoke to WA media leading into the Essendon game

Senior coach Ross Lyon is expecting an emotional evening when Fremantle bid farewell to club legends Aaron Sandilands and Hayden Ballantyne on Saturday against Essendon at Optus Stadium.

Both Sandilands and Ballantyne will play their final home games, with Sandilands retiring from football at the end of the season and Ballantyne playing his final season at Fremantle. 

Lyon only had praise for the duo, saying they’d been a pleasure to coach. 

READ: Sean's farewell to Sandi

“They’ve been such great servants for the club. They’re great warriors. They’re just so self-directed and motivated. It just makes (coaching them) so easy,” Lyon said. 

“Their longevity speaks for itself, they’ve played in a lot of finals series and they’ve been instrumental in building the club up.

“You tend to well up a little bit.”

Both teams have a lot to play for, with Lyon anticipating a determined Bombers outfit after a 104-point loss to the Western Bulldogs in round 21.

“Essendon will be stinging, they’ll come over fierce,” Lyon said. 

“There’s been good ticket sales for it, it’s a great stadium and a night game, so I’m expecting a great atmosphere and a great game.”

Lyon added that defender Nathan Wilson was expected to miss the rest of the season due to his toe injury.

Wilson has missed the past two games due bone bruising and Lyon confirmed he would not be available for selection for the final two games of the home and away season. 

Fellow defender Luke Ryan (hamstring) and forward Brennan Cox (hip) are expected to be available to play for next week’s clash with Port Adelaide.

“We won’t see Nathan Wilson again this year,” Lyon said. 

“He’s got some bone bruising in his toe, he’s played (with the injury) with some difficulty.

“(The injury will) dissipate over time.”

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