Fremantle coach Ross Lyon says Blues got the right man in Brendon Bolton

Fremantle coach Ross Lyon has described new Carlton coach Brendon Bolton as the "exact" coach the Blues needed.

Lyon called Bolton a great appointment for Carlton, given his teaching methods and expected game plan that balanced attack and defence.

Right man for the job: Carlton coach Brendon Bolton.
Right man for the job: Carlton coach Brendon Bolton. Photo: Mathew Lynn

Lyon also revealed that Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson had "checked" Lyon for socialising a little too much during the International Rules series, played in Ireland. Lyon was Clarkson's assistant in the Ireland v Australia game.

"I think Bolton's the exact appointment Carlton needed," Lyon told Fairfax Media. 

Ross Lyon and Alastair Clarkson
Ross Lyon and Alastair Clarkson in the lead-up to the 2013 grand final. Illustration: Matt Davidson 

Lyon said Bolton would help the club "learn how to teach" and that, as a Hawthorn assistant, he offered a "balanced football game plan – offence-defence – and it delivers.

"I think Bolton's a great appointment. But there's still a proof in the pudding for a few of those guys."


Lyon, who has one of the highest win-loss ratios in coaching history but has not won a flag, said he had felt relaxed as Clarkson's assistant.

"You're really there to serve the senior coach ... as an assistant, I felt really relaxed. I probably socialised a little bit more then Clarko sort of checked me a little bit – not much but ... you just feel a bit more relaxed."

Lyon said working as an assistant to Clarkson – along with Geelong coach Chris Scott – had given him "some empathy for [an] assistant coach." 

Lyon, who indicated he would delegate more to his assistants and place more store in skill, said the Dockers had emphasised football and disposal, rather than running, in pre-season training.

 "We've got rid of any running in our program to make sure it's football that's achieved through football drills and open-ended drills where there's more decision making and a premium on kicking."

Lyon quoted ex-Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, when "asked what do you do with the poor kicks. He said 'they don't get here'."

Lyon said Fremantle was at a disadvantage in recruiting players from other clubs, due to the "tyranny of distance" and would focus more on Western Australian players from rival clubs in future. He called the recruitment of free agent Colin Sylvia from Melbourne "a disaster".

 He said Fremantle list manager Brad Lloyd had been on record explaining the club's shift towards WA players from other clubs, but noted that the Dockers had a great record of retaining the players they drafted from Victoria.

Lyon said new skipper David Mundy and Brownlow medallist Nat Fyfe had been the standout leaders when the players voted on the captaincy.

Lyon also used Hawthorn as a reference point for Fyfe's role as midfielder who plays forward 

part time.  "There's a difference between a pinch forward and living there but it's going in and out of the midfield. You know, the best team at the minute, the reference point for everyone is Hawthorn and players come in and out of the midfield and that's the way we'd like to go."