The West

Lyon keeps lid on homecoming hopes
Lyon keeps lid on homecoming hopes

Fremantle coach Ross Lyon has called facing in-form St Kilda a daunting task, saying it will not be the end of the world if Fremantle don't beat his old club.

The frank assessment was delivered yesterday as injured star Nat Fyfe joined a 25-man squad heading east for tomorrow night's clash against the Saints at Etihad Stadium.

Potential debutant Lachie Neale, Dylan Roberton and Jack Anthony all made the trip as Fremantle sent three emergencies in case the prognosis on Fyfe's dislocated shoulder is worse than expected.

Hayden Ballantyne was also part of the squad after completing a two-match suspension.

St Kilda are expected to take supreme confidence into the contest, having won their past eight meetings against the Dockers.

Such has been the Saints' dominance in recent matches between the sides that Lyon confessed in an exclusive pre-season interview with _The West Australian _that he hadn't studied Fremantle much during his time as opposition coach.

"We used to fly in, take the points and go home," Lyon said in February. "They were only a finals contender once, so I didn't analyse them too much."

Yesterday, Lyon was far more circumspect about the Dockers' chances of posting their first win in Melbourne since round 13, 2010.

"I certainly know what they're capable of," Lyon said of the Saints.

"At their very best they can be a daunting task. Our job's to play our style of footy and make them react to us a little bit.

"Do you double team Nick Riewoldt? Do you tag (Lenny) Hayes, (Nick) Dal Santo, (Brendon) Goddard? Who do you match up on (Stephen) Milne? How do you control Sam Fisher?

"All those types of things are running through (my mind), but at the end of the day we've got to get our hands on the footy, we've got to pressure the opposition and we've got to use it well.

"We're going there to win. If we don't win it won't be the end of the world, but it's the way we go about it."

Lyon was planning to watch St Kilda matches from this year during the flight to Melbourne.

He said he had noticed subtle changes to the Saints' game plan under new coach Scott Watters, such as using three talls up forward, but stressed the basics would not change.

Manning up on rebounding defenders Goddard and Fisher would be paramount.

"There's a reason they've been All-Australian players and dominated in finals, because they're very talented," Lyon said.

"We're an emerging list, a building list. They're the hard-nosed pros and at some point you've got to stand up and you've got to deliver against those sorts of sides."

Fyfe's availability hinges on a specialist's report this morning. Lyon said the 20-year-old had completed a full training session yesterday and would line up against the Saints if it did not risk his long-term playing future.

"I think we're living in a fool's paradise if we think it's absolutely perfect," he said. "He clearly sustained an injury, but most players carry something in. He came second in the B&F (best and fairest) last year and almost could have won it with the same sort of issue, so he's really confident."

Neale is coming off a strong WAFL showing with 22 disposals for Swan Districts and Roberton has been superb for East Perth, but both are likely to be emergencies if Fyfe is fit.

The West Australian

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