AFL

Fremantle Dockers coach Ross Lyon says he'll extend contract if club wants

Fremantle Dockers coach Ross Lyon says he will happily extend his contract with the Dockers - if the club asks him to.

In an interview with The Herald Sun's Mark Robinson, Lyon denied he had been approached to take over as Carlton coach and said that he was "very happy with Fremantle Football Club."

Ross Lyon says he'll happily stay at Fremantle until the Dockers decide they don't want him.
Ross Lyon says he'll happily stay at Fremantle until the Dockers decide they don't want him. Photo: AFL Media/Getty Images

Lyon has two years to run on his current Dockers contract.

"If I had really wanted to leave, you wouldn't have known because you didn't know last time," Lyon said, in reference to his shock move from St Kilda to Fremantle at the end of the 2011 season.

Harley Bennell will make his long-awaited debut for the Dockers.
Harley Bennell will make his long-awaited debut for the Dockers. 

"If they [Dockers powerbrokers] wanted to extend, I would extend...not once have I approached a club, they've always come to me.

"I don't put a time on [how long he'd like to be there]...until they no longer want me probably. We're still building as a club, we haven't got what we want as a club."

In a wide-ranging interview covering the role of ex-skipper Matthew Pavlich, the status of potential boom recruit Harley Bennell and long-term replacements for retired centre half-back Luke McPharlin, Lyon admitted the Dockers needed to tweak their game plan but not entirely reinvent it.

Fremantle finished top of the ladder last season but struggled in the final two months of the campaign and was knocked out in a preliminary final by eventual premier Hawthorn.

Fremantle's forward line must become less Matthew Pavlich-centric, Ross Lyon admits.
Fremantle's forward line must become less Matthew Pavlich-centric, Ross Lyon admits. Photo: Getty Images

Echoing what he told Fairfax Media last week, Lyon said he was aware of his own need to evolve.

"We do a lot right,' Lyon said.

Ross Lyon has compared Alex Pearce to Dustin Fletcher.
Ross Lyon has compared Alex Pearce to Dustin Fletcher. Photo: Robert Cianflone

"We finished top of the ladder, won 17 games, in it up to our necks but have fallen short. We're building. I want to evolve."

Bennell, whose time with the Gold Coast Suns was plagued by off-field trouble, had been told it "was five minutes or five years" Lyon said, adding that the 23-year-old has been "exceptional" although currently laid low by a calf issue.

He said Pavlich had noticable "freshness" since handing the captaincy over to David Mundy and that the Dockers continued to work on being less Pavlich-centric when going forward.

"If you're an equal opportunity forward line, it creates options," Lyon said.

The coach also identified 20-year-old Alex Pearce as a key part of the Dockers defence, comparing him to Dustin Fletcher.

"He will likely be Luke McPharlin's replacement," Lyon said.

- Simon White

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