I need to lead better: Pavlich
I need to lead better: Pavlich

Fremantle captain Matthew Pavlich says he is not past his prime, rating his form "OK" with room for improvement.

But Pavlich says he is not the solution to the club's midfield problems.

Speaking at a coaching clinic at Cottesloe Primary School, Pavlich believed the Dockers could rebound quickly from hidings from Hawthorn and West Coast but warned that Ross Lyon's game plan would take more time to perfect.

Pavlich's shared role between midfield and attack and Fremantle's struggle to score have led to a mixed set of statistics for someone who has won his club's goal kicking in six of the past seven seasons.

He has kicked 11 goals, second behind Chris Mayne (15). But he leads the club in inside 50m entries and goal assists.

Pavlich believes strongly that at age 30 he is still physically capable of producing his best football.

"I am very confident," he said. "I had a really strong, solid pre- season. Anyone who is around 30 and has been involved for 13-odd seasons will have a few management things they have to look at but I am really happy with where my body is at and where I can play to.

"It is more about me executing my role more often than not and I haven't been anywhere near perfect this year.

"Clearly, I would rather have hit the scoreboard more than I have in the first nine weeks. In general, the form has been OK but I am clearly putting my hand up to say I need to improve and lead the team better."

Pavlich said the midfield solution lay with the club's younger midfielders but the issue had, to a degree, been caused by injury and interrupted pre-seasons.

"We have got a couple of players injured at the moment who figure pretty prominently in our midfield group and we have got a couple of guys coming back who are a little bit under," he said.

"We need to clearly work on some of the stoppage structure but we are not going to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

"We know that the group of players out there can get the job done for us. We just need to tweak a couple of things and our attitude is that the intensity has to be spot on the whole time.

"I think (my role) will stay the same as it has been for the majority of this year and that will mean periods of playing in the midfield, but we need to develop class young players and we have that on our list. We need to continue to back them in and give them confidence.

"By the end of the season we feel as though we will have a group of midfielders who are very capable."

Pavlich took to Twitter this week to urge frustrated fans to stick behind the club, quoting Winston Churchill's line on persistence: "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it's the courage to continue that counts."

Pavlich said he was confident that, despite the reaction to disappointing performances like those of the past fortnight, most fans had a good grasp of the club's situation.

"Clearly we have got a long way to go but at 5-4 we are pretty confident that our best gives us an opportunity to continue on in the path that we are on," he said. "One week or 1 1/2 poor games of football doesn't really make a season.

"I think our fans would be pragmatic and understand that at 5-4 we are a work in progress. We are not going to be perfect and we still have to really understand how Ross would like us to play. Our fans, I think, are a bit smarter than people give them credit for.

"We hope it clicks into gear this week against Adelaide."

The West Australian

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