FREMANTLE coach Ross Lyon was “really relieved” Nat Fyfe escaped suspension for his high hit on Richmond forward Tom Lynch, and concedes the Dockers skipper needs to work on his technique when protecting himself.
Fyfe raised his forearm in a last-quarter collision with Lynch and collected the Tigers spearhead with a glancing blow to the head in Freo’s 25-point loss.
Lynch continued playing and Match Review Officer Michael Christian deemed the blow of insufficient force to warrant a suspension or fine.
It keeps Fyfe’s chances of a second Brownlow Medal alive, and means the superstar midfielder will be available for a winnable clash with Essendon at Marvel Stadium on Saturday night.
— AFL.com.au (@AFLcomau) May 12, 2019
“I was really relieved that he was available,” Lyon told Channel Seven.
“He’s a real ball-hunter, (a) very ball-orientated, fair player, so fortunately things went his way, so really pleased to have him for Essendon.”
Fyfe was banned for a week for an intentional high hit on Collingwood’s Levi Greenwood last year, and Lyon accepted the 2015 Brownlow medallist had to alter his technique.
— AFL (@AFL) June 3, 2018
“I think it’s just a reflex. He’s going for the ball and then sees something late,” Lyon said.
“Yeah, he’ll have to work on a bit of technique because we’d hate to lose him with a reflexive lift of the elbow to protect himself.”
After consecutive losses to Adelaide and the Tigers, Fremantle is 4-4 and hanging on to eighth spot on the ladder.
The Dockers are set to recall utility Connor Blakely, who hasn’t played since round 13 last year due to long-term knee and hamstring issues.
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“We haven’t won the last two weeks, so things (at selection) will be looked at a lot closer,” Lyon said.
Meanwhile, the Dockers are holding their breath Stephen Hill (quad) and Harley Bennell (calf) can finally get going after missing the season so far.
Hill is on track to return to football training next week and aiming to be back playing after the round 12 bye.
Bennell might appear in his first game within two weeks after he and Blakely took part in match simulation last weekend during the state league bye.
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“Harley trained strongly with the WAFL group on the weekend in a really contested session,” high performance manager Jason Weber said.
“He’s recovered very well and we look forward to getting him into the main session this week.”
Shane Kersten’s career hangs in the balance with the out-of-contract tall back to having no timeframe to return following foot surgery.
The Dockers are hopeful veteran duo Aaron Sandilands (calf) and Hayden Ballantyne (hamstring) will play senior football in the second half of the season.
“Really exciting (Sandilands is) back running, back working,” Lyon said.
“We love him, we respect him, he just needs a little bit of luck and hopefully we’ll see him at the back end of the year.”