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Get off Zac s back: Lyon
Get off Zac's back: Lyon

Fremantle coach Ross Lyon has issued a stern message to fans constantly criticising defender Zac Dawson - back off.

Dawson has been a whipping boy for the Dockers faithful since he arrived at the club, with calls for him to be axed for Alex Silvagni.

It is a situation remarkably similar to the former Hawk's first season at St Kilda when supporters wanted him replaced by beloved veteran Max Hudghton.

Lachie Hansen's three goals for North Melbourne on Sunday were used to target Dawson yesterday.

But Lyon said it was ridiculous that Dawson, who had been an integral part of the back line all year, continued to attract criticism.

"There's some people who live in a fool's paradise," Lyon told 6PR.

"He defended terrific on the weekend. He's had one bad game - his second up (from injury in round 20) I think.

"I hear the hype and the rumblings but I just think I'll back my knowledge in about how to defend and play against the average punter.

"At the end of the day, no one knows our players.

"They (North Melbourne) took five marks in their forward 50 and their key forwards, who average seven goals a week, kicked three.

"To suggest Zac was playing on Hansen - they hand over, they block - that's just ridiculous really, to be frank."

Dawson will have a key role in Fremantle's finals campaign.

He is the only Docker to have played in a grand final and is also their most experienced finals player with eight appearances.

It will be Lyon's fifth consecutive finals appearance and midfielder David Mundy said the coach had taught the players a lot in 2012.

"Ross is obviously a great coach and the coaches around him are very good coaches as well," Mundy said.

"We have been blessed in that regard that they have come in and brought a fresh game style in.

"Early in the year we were getting some bits right and other bits wrong but in the games where we have played really well, like the weekend and the Eagles a few weeks ago, we have had a really consistent performance."

Fremantle won't make a decision on captain Matthew Pavlich's fitness for Saturday night's match against Melbourne at Patersons Stadium until later in the week.