Ross Lyon says his team has concentrated on overcoming a reliance on Matthew Pavlich as a forward target after Fremantle bounced back to thrash Essendon by 53 points at Patersons Stadium yesterday.
The hosts rediscovered their trademark work rate to blow away an equally depleted opposition after half-time in an afternoon fixture Bombers coach Mark Thompson conceded had been "pretty tough" after starting in unseasonal 33C heat.
The 18.5 (113) to 9.6 (60) win was set up by a seven-goal third term and shored up the Dockers' record to 3-1, with the club to be bolstered by Nat Fyfe's return from suspension for Saturday's twilight game against Sydney at the SCG.
Pavlich led the scoring with three majors, but the Dockers had 12 individual goal kickers in encouraging signs following their belting at the hands of Hawthorn nine days earlier.
"(Against) Hawthorn we were a bit Matthew Pavlich conscious," Lyon said. "We spoke about them, we bombed it into Matthew and they just had a plus one all day rolling off.
"That's the coaching job we've been trying to play with more penetration, but we became a bit bomby and a bit straight line and we got exposed quickly.
"I thought we came to hand pretty quickly on changing that up."
Lyon labelled yesterday's conditions as "extreme" and said the next challenge was dealing with consecutive six-day breaks.
The sole concern will be the fitness of David Mundy, who was substituted out of the match at half-time after copping a head knock in a collision with teammate Luke McPharlin.
"We go to a six-day break this week - there's no excuse," Lyon said. "We've got two six-day breaks in a row.
"We understand it (the heat) is there but I think you'd be naive to suggest that we don't live and train in a hotter climate than Essendon."
Returning Zac Clarke kicked a goal from 19 disposals and finished with 17 hit-outs in a strong showing.
Ruck partner Aaron Sandilands also responded to heavy criticism over the past week with a bullocking performance.
Lyon praised both ruckmen after Fremantle dominated the hit-outs 63-14.
"At the end of the day Aaron's got a role to play and he does it pretty well," Lyon said.
"We always keep him accountable, but he's an important part of our cog. But I thought Zac Clarke was terrific as well."
The Bombers were hamstrung from the match's opening minutes courtesy of a groin injury to Brendon Goddard.
Thompson said the Bombers star had felt tight during the warm-up. Goddard was substituted out of the game in the second term, robbing Essendon of extra class with Dustin Fletcher, Paul Chapman and an ill David Myers all ruled out before the bounce.
Thompson stopped short of saying early season afternoon fixtures should be ruled out altogether in Perth.
"It was a bit of a shock walking off the plane to be honest and feeling the heat, but we still didn't play our best footy," he said.
(Against) Hawthorn we were a bit Matthew Pavlich conscious. " * Ross Lyon *