- from afl.com.au
FREMANTLE coach Ross Lyon says the Dockers' loss to Carlton was close to the most disappointing performance of any side he has coached and conceded that the club has to go back to the drawing board.
The Dockers lost to the Blues by four points on Sunday to remain rooted to the bottom of the ladder with zero wins after making the preliminary final last year.
When asked whether it was the worst performance of any side he had coached in his 223-game career, he conceded it just might be in terms of skill execution.
"I think it goes close in all seriousness," Lyon said post-match.
"But I don't want to disrespect Carlton. But we know they're a developing list. They're a long way from home. But we know they defend well.
"I thought our want and desire overall was pretty good.
"But clearly we're playing some horrible football. We're moving the ball just terribly.
"Our ability to transition the ball in a productive way out of centre back is our annus horribilis.
"We need to work on that. Lots of turnovers. So that's the issue. Our stoppage work was OK. It was solid. We're just getting opened up off terrible turnovers.
"It's pretty simple. But we thought we were better than this."
Lyon conceded that his side could not possibly play finals if they continue to play in the manner that they have so far this season.
"I think we're all a bit shocked," Lyon said.
"We're all hurting.
"The difference between the amateur and professional (sport), the amateur doesn't progress. Professionals are paid to progress. Myself and the players are paid to progress, and the coaches.
"We need to progress and improve. Because it can get worse if you want to let it."
The Dockers had made no secret of the fact that they were keen to improve their skills and ball movement over the summer. They have also adjusted some stoppage and defensive set-ups in an effort to be more offensive.
Lyon said it clearly had not worked at it was back to the drawing board.
"I've got no alternative," Lyon said.
"We don't rebuild but we re-stump, we re-wire, we re-plumb. Clearly we just don't roll along. Clearly we're not going to play finals the way we're playing."
Lyon said he needed to look at blooding new players but he did not want to teach them bad habits.
"There's no use playing young kids and teaching them to play like this," Lyon said.
"We need to bring young kids in and teach them to play the right way. For me, I wouldn't say I'm invigorated because I'd like to be winning, but I see it as a formidable challenge and one I'm really keen to accept and work with the club over the ensuing weeks and ensuing seasons to make sure we can play some really good football."
Darcy Tucker made his debut on Sunday and Lyon said he acquitted himself OK, while the coach was also pleased with second-gamer Brady Grey's effort.
Connor Blakely and Ethan Hughes look set to get opportunities sooner rather than later and dropped midfielder Ed Langdon went back and gathered 29 touches in the WAFL on Saturday.
Lyon has the opportunity to play the long game with Fremantle after signing a five-year contract extension in the pre-season that has tied him to the club until the end of 2020.