Hasleby tips Lyon for flag
Hasleby tips Lyon for flag

Fremantle champion Paul Hasleby says Ross Lyon will deliver the club's long-awaited maiden premiership before the senior coach's contract ends in 2017.

The four-times Ross Glendinning medallist and one of the club's greatest players made the prediction as Lyon yesterday committed to the club for an extra two years beyond his existing deal.

The Dockers - just a week out from their season opener against Collingwood at Etihad Stadium - also announced a one-year contract extension for ruckman Aaron Sandilands, through to the end of next season

The high-profile signings come as last year's grand finalists close in on locking away another of their experienced players.

Forward Hayden Ballantyne is poised to become the next Docker to put pen to paper, and the term of his deal is believed to be at least three years.

The 26-year-old, who booted a career-best 34 goals last season, is due to come out of contract at the end of this season.

Sandilands' commitment, as flagged by thewest.com.au last month, comes following an injury-free pre-season in which the three-times All-Australian has been among Fremantle's best players in every match.

Hasleby said he had no doubt that Lyon would secure an his- toric flag for Fremantle.

"Even though they have some champions coming towards the end of their careers, I think there's enough class coming through the ranks to have a really good premiership window in the next four years and to do it," Hasleby said.

Lyon has a 67 per cent winning record since joining the Dockers and was halfway through a four-year contract before yesterday's announcement.

The extension should mean that he becomes Fremantle's longest-serving coach and more than his five seasons at the helm of St Kilda.

The senior coach said chief executive Steve Rosich had approached him with an offer in December and the deal had progressed from there.

Lyon said sustained excellence would produce the club's first flag. "Our aim is to become a great club," he said.

"Certainly there's been a long period of rebuilding and putting a lot of pillars in, of leadership and player talent and all those things, but at the end of the day we're not there yet.

"We're all striving to achieve the ultimate.

"Great clubs are in the business of winning premierships and that's what we're aiming to do … if you create sustained excellence and sustained opportunity, eventually things will fall your way."

Lyon said he was excited about staying in WA long- term at a powerful club where he was "fully supported and resourced".

"All the variables - you write down your pros and cons - and clearly it weighed heavily in favour of staying in Perth and committing," he said.

"I feel privileged to be able to take advantage of the opportunity."

Rosich said it "made sense" to look forward and extend the contract of a man pivotal to the club's on-field success.

"We knew what we were getting when we secured Ross' services just over two years ago and he's certainly delivered on that," Rosich said.

Anthony Morabito will make his anticipated return to competitive football as one of 10 Dockers lining up for Peel Thunder's league side in this afternoon's practice match with Perth at Bendigo Bank Stadium. Colin Sylvia, Tanner Smith, Josh Simpson and Max Duffy will also play.

Lyon said playing at the elite level in 2014 was becoming a real prospect for Morabito.

"It's a significant moment for Anthony and we all should admire his tenacity and desire and resilience," he said.

"Not too many people would come through the other side like he has."

Sylvia, 28, will play a full game for Peel and Lyon said the former Melbourne forward was not completely out of the selection frame for round one.

"He's actually done a fair bit," he said.

"If he was to really perform, he's still in the mix."

"… I think there's enough class coming through … to have a really good premiership window …"" *Paul Hasleby *

The West Australian

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