The West

Dockers target two more goals to tilt big games
Ross Lyon and Matthew Pavlich speak to interviewer Mike Sheahan at Fremantle’s season launch at Crown Grand Ballroom yesterday. Picture: Lincoln Baker/WA News

Fremantle want to produce two more goals a game in 2014 to guarantee they can kick winning scores against their premiership rivals and improve on the best season in the club's history.

Last year's grand finalists averaged just 10 goals in six meetings with fellow top-four clubs Hawthorn, Geelong and Sydney in 2013.

The return was well down on the team's average score of 91 points a game, which still left them ranked a lowly 12th in the league.

The Dockers won just two of the top-four clashes, scoring more behinds than goals in four of those high-pressure contests.

That wastefulness came back to haunt them in the grand final when an inaccurate 8.14 meant they were unable to overhaul Hawthorn.

Coach Ross Lyon, who spoke at the club's season launch yesterday, acknowledged that problems with conversion had been the biggest issue to come out of the grand final, Fremantle's first after 19 seasons in the league.

"We'd like two goals a week more to put us on form," he said.

"We were averaging 104 points (in our wins), which puts us in the top four, and our defence is really strong.

"We know that we need to be top four to give ourselves the very best chance.

"Our scoring in the second half of the year was quite strong, but we acknowledge we'd like those two goals a week."

The Dockers still had late chances in the grand final after narrowing the margin to 10 points at the final break, but conceded the first three goals of the final term.

"The team weren't ruthless enough on the day and we'll take that forward," Lyon said.

Even captain Matthew Pavlich shanked a set shot on goal before half-time during the grand final as he tried to impose himself. He finished the game with 3.2.

The skipper admitted players had panicked early in the match.

"It's taken a long time for the guys to get over it, but we did," he said.

The Dockers got a wake-up call courtesy of an 84-point hiding in their opening NAB Challenge match against West Coast on Tuesday. Pavlich admitted their attitude and effort had been "way off the mark".

The result came just 24 days before their season opener against Collingwood at Etihad Stadium.

Lyon said he was confident the players were still in good shape, with internal measurements on running power and speed all up on the same time last year.

"We've still got plenty of work to do," he said.

"We're starting to prepare in the background for Collingwood.

"It's really important to win the first one. You want to get your first win on the board as quick as you can and Collingwood would say the same thing."

Fremantle's game plan has been "tweaked" for this season.

Lyon said supporters would see a more flexible team, with club champion Nat Fyfe spending more time forward, David Mundy and Stephen Hill pushing back into defence, and Michael Walters used on the ball.

"Hawthorn introduced a bit of flexibility last year," he said.

"Two years in (to Lyon's coaching) we're now more comfortable to be able to do that."

"The team weren't ruthless enough on the day and we'll take that forward."" *Ross Lyon *

The West Australian

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