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Ross Lyon
Ross Lyon

Fremantle's midfield group has been challenged by coach Ross Lyon to improve on last weekend's poor defensive effort when they face Richmond on Saturday.

The Dockers' engine room was good in periods against competition leaders Adelaide but lost the clearances 43-26 and contested possessions 145-129, two key areas they identified leading into the match.

Lyon said his midfield has made significant improvement since early in the season but still had a way to go.

"I think we always try and find a balance between attack and defence," he said.

"We don't want to be a down hill skiing team that run forward of the ball and some weeks we win by 10 and some weeks lose by 10. We want to be in the game all the time.

"The Geelong model and the Collingwood model and really the Saints model was solid.

"Go to the ball, outnumber the opposition, then when you win it go."

Lyon said the Dockers had continued to tinker with their game plan and stoppage set up through the year.

"I think you can learn from the past and bring the strong principles, but you've got to continue to evolve and improve," he said.

"We're certainly different and I coach differently and we set up differently.

"There's some really strong threads obviously. But as Robert Walls said to me, 'the only constant thing in AFL football is change'.

"That's a pretty strong reminder that you've got to continue to evolve."

When asked how their game plan had evolved over the season, Lyon said there was an evident willingness to kick more often.

The Dockers will go from facing the AFL's dominant midfield group last week in Adelaide to one of the best developing midfields against Richmond.

"They've got (Trent) Cotchin, (Brett) Deledio, and (Shaun) Grigg's been really strong for them, high uncontested player," Lyon said.

"They've got (Daniel) Jackson running through there, (Shane) Edwards, and (Shane) Tuck's been really efficient as well.

"Dustin Martin's pretty handy as well. I mean they're pick one and twos in the country. So they're going to be a handful, and they're coming over determined to win.

"But at match committee, is it Martin, Deledio or Cotchin, and then there's a bit of Grigg and Tuck. So it's quite difficult."

Lyon said he would not tell Ryan Crowley who he would tag until the last moment to prevent any risk of it being leaked.

Sportal

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