The West

Free-kick calls don t always add up for Lyon
Steve Johnson, left, was savvy enough to win free-kicks against the Dockers, says Ross Lyon. Pic: Getty Images

Fremantle coach Ross Lyon wants greater consistency from the umpires in the wake of his side’s lop-sided free-kick count against Geelong in their two-point loss on Saturday night.

The Dockers were on the wrong end of a 31-14 free-kick count at Simonds Stadium, with 25 of those going the Cats’ way in the first half.

Lyon denied it was the reason they lost the game, but had some concerns about how interpretations were fluctuating through the season and even from one quarter to another.

“We played the (Western) Bulldogs and we got four free-kicks for the game, in a congested game, but then you get seven or eight weeks later and there’s 39 free-kicks paid in a half,” he said.

“We have to take some responsibility. We are having a good look at it - our high tackles, we are tackling a bit high, maybe a little bit reckless.

“But it’s hard to get a handle on it while it is swinging wild fluctuations within games.”

Lyon said the most frustrating decisions were those in which the umpire guessed, citing incidents involving Geelong star Steve Johnson.

“Steve has the propensity to grab his opponent, take him to the ground, and hopefully the instigator doesn’t get caught and we get pinged, and that happened with Cam Sutcliffe on the weekend, which really cost us a goal,” Lyon said.

“Cam was running, he checked Steve.

“Steve pulled him around the neck, pulled him to the ground and then the umpire guesses and they’re the things we get frustrated with.

“But in saying that, that’s not the reason we lost, or would have won the game.

“They’re the things that can sort of frustrate you, but I am certainly not an umpire basher. But hopefully the rub of the green will turn at some point for us.”

Lyon confirmed star forward Michael Walters was likely to return in their grand final replay against Hawthorn at Patersons Stadium on Sunday and was considering playing four small forwards in the clash.

Walters trained strongly at Fremantle Oval this morning after playing for Peel Thunder in the WAFL on the weekend.

Michael Johnson, Hayden Ballantyne, Nick Suban and Zac Dawson ran laps away from the main group, while Stephen Hill was absent after rolling his ankle early in the game against Geelong.

Defender Lee Spurr was also on light duties, with Garrick Ibbotson (back) and Tendai Mzungu (hamstring) both training strongly and are pressing their claims for selection agains the Hawks.

The West Australian

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