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Fremantly Football Club

Ross Lyon post-match Q & A - Round 22 v Essendon

Post-Match Ross Lyon - Rd 22 v Essendon Ross Lyon spoke to the media following the loss against Essendon.

Ross where did it get away from you?
I thought our effort was strong, contested ball, ground ball, entries and possession gained in the centre forward was really high. In the whole game there was three areas that cost us. Early their counterpunch out of their defensive 50, their run and overlap out the back early where they kicked three goals from forward 50 stoppages, two in the first quarter. Then our ability to score and terrible turnovers centre back cost us. Our inability when we won the ball back centre forward 28 times and had 18 entries but scored at about eight percent. That was really disappointing. The ability to get split or create something or execute was at the lower end tonight.

You won contested possession by 55, it’s not often there’s a discrepancy that big in that stat and you end up losing.
You can lose on the outside. An attacking mid possession game is between the centre circle and the arc. We won the ball back 28 times, that’s what the good teams do. Like Geelong earlier in the year, their ability to score off it efficiently was strong and then as they have struggled they have been a bit more inefficient. Same as us, when we play well we get it there and score efficiently. If you are going really well it should be 30% there, one in three times you should score. We scored one in 10 times. So, again the ability to bring the ball inside and use the free players and make a decision was at the lower end. That’s the frustration, that’s how it happens.

Is that mainly skill execution, is it mainly decision making or is it a combination?
It’s clearly a combination of execution, decision making and ability to create. Like a Walters would do, with his step, fake, and ability to bring it inside and see the free target and hit it, so it’s a combination. The ability to kick it to the advantage side if you mark it outside 50, for example there’s Nat Fyfe so don’t kick it behind him kick it in front of him. There’s all of those things but you’re right, if you look at the numbers we did that right but didn’t have the ability to get it there and win the ball. Three forward 50 stoppage goals is pretty poor and they counter-punched a few times but they scored off some of ours. I thought there were some really bad turnovers coming out of our defence, that made it easier, so they are the three areas.

When you took the field, the event the North Melbourne win over Port basically boiled it down to, if you won tonight you were well and truly alive next week?
I didn’t see that but it’s frustrating, isn’t it? Emotion doesn’t get it done, does it?

How does the group feel at the moment, are they a bit gutted given the result?
I don’t think it’s something they thought about (the North Melbourne result), you can’t go out there worrying about other results. You’ve got to execute and that’s what we said. They are the three areas so we wanted to win tonight regardless. We get 60 entries to 47, win the contested ball, win the clearances and get attacking with our possession game. So, what did we identify coming in? That they like to run hard out the back, bring it inside and get it out the back. Their first two goals, I think the first one was a stoppage goal and then the next two were from one of us slipping over and they kick the goal and on the next they got us up the middle with overlap run that should’ve been stopped. But we went in, I think Ed Langdon kicked it in and it was Matera versus Hurley so we’re challenged for height up there. They mark it and you can’t get a chance to set your defence and they are gone, so is it the lack of tall forwards there to bring it to ground and compete? It’s probably a fair element of it. Or is it the defensive element, what came first? Why did we lose the game last week in the last quarter? Because we had ten entries and the first five were marked by Carlisle or maybe four of them. So, four out of our first five or six entries the opposition marked it. We are challenged for height down there. So what do we do? We put Fyfe down there, Mundy down there and he looked dangerous, and we maybe could’ve done it earlier. They are some of the challenges we’ve got at the minute but systematically it’s contested ball, entries and where we are getting the ball. We ticked those off as a group but the ability to make them pay was poor and I thought they scored through entries through the corridor too much. That made their scoring a bit easier. We showed clips at half time where we won the ball and there’s four Docker players on the inside and the player with the ball is bringing it in and not kicking it to them. It makes it very difficult, but we highlighted that at half time, we highlight that pre-game and we highlight it at training. Some of it is our young players, and some of it is just confidence to go in there but we’ll just keep working on it.

Do you feel like skills and decision making are the areas this group need to work on?
I think its highlighted, we know it, there’s a lot that goes into that thread.  I don’t think we have the opportunity to dissect that here but that’s clearly the opportunity and the continued threat. You’ve got to take on yourself to improve your decision making and execution. The program works pretty hard at it aswell.

How important is it to win next week and finish on a high?
Every week is important in AFL footy. I just want to really acknowledge Aaron Sandilands and Hayden Ballantyne. It’s rare air they’re in – big time players for a long period of time, very special, but you’ve got to earn that. We spoke about their epitaph, what’s written and what they will be remembered for… just fierce competitors forged in the hottest games. I remember being at the Swans and (Sandilands) was running around in the prelim in the stadium out in the western suburbs and that was in 06 – what are we in now – 19, they’ve both played finals in 12,13,14,15 plus finals in 2010. I mean they’ve stood up in the fiercest heat. In my time I’ve never had to speak to them about coming back in shape and fit. Never spoken to them about training hard. I’ve never spoken to them about concentrating in meetings. I never spoke to them about competing on game day. So that’s how you get your longevity and that’s what  they’ve modelled. That young group, how many of them are going to tick all those filters off and have long careers, that’s what we spoke about tonight. It’s pretty special, rare air, hard earned and we couldn’t get it done for them tonight but it wasn’t through a lack of trying. It was through a lack of execution and decision making really.

A nice moment at the end with Sandilands piggy backing Ballas off…
Yes, they are best mates, I mean anyone can buy you a beer but when you run down the race and you know someone has your back and they’re going to compete to the end, that’s a pretty special bond, they are warriors on the ground.

Do Sandilands and Ballantyne play next week or do you bring in youth and try to expose them more youth?
Yes, we have plenty of youth, yes (Sandilands and Ballantyne) wouldn’t play, but just expose it. Aaron gave us a chance and they won’t play next week I wouldn’t have thought, unless we get too many injuries and they have to. I think emotionally it would be pretty hard after tonight.

If they don’t play Ross who comes in do you think?
I’m not in that position at the minute but we could go with one ruck and we will have a look at it. Jason Carter is competing, Bailey Banfield played pretty well down there (at Peel). I don’t think the tap’s overflowing at the minute. 

You mentioned you’re strapped for height, if a tall comes out does that mean Hugh Dixon might get a chance next week?
Yes he might.

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