Essendon premiership midfielder Tim Watson has labelled 2019 a massive year for Ross Lyon and Fremantle and especially their forward line.
The Dockers won eight games and finished 14th last year, but traded for Jesse Hogan and Rory Lobb to help restructure their forward line.
“This year is massive for them. They have to show I would think enormous improvement,” Watson told SEN Breakfast.
“They’ve gone out and they’ve recruited, they’ve got Rory Lobb, Jesse Hogan and they’ve got some very good kids coming through.
“Their greatest problem in recent times has been their forward line and getting big key forwards capable of wrestling a game away from the opposition.”
Former Melbourne key forward Garry Lyon is worried the team will be too top-heavy in 2019 and will need to work out how to best balance their abundance of tall options.
“When you look at their list composition, they’ve got a lot of big blokes,” Lyon said.
“You’ve got Hogan at 195cm, Lobb at 206cm, Matthew Taberner at 198cm, they’ve got Brennan Cox at 195cm and Cam McCarthy 193cm then you’ve got the two big ruckmen in Aaron Sandilands and Sean Darcy.
“That’s a lot of top-heavy players on that list.
“Can you play Cox and Lobb and Hogan? You certainly can’t play Taberner and McCarthy. It’s a different composition.”
Ross Lyon spoke yesterday at a club function, saying they’re building towards a premiership tilt.
“To be a senior coach of the Fremantle Football Club is incredibly high status for me,” Lyon said at the club breakfast.
“I feel privileged, I’m committed, I take it very seriously.
“We are a young club, we are an expansion club — 25 years — in context, we’re still building and I have no doubt that this club will deliver premierships, we have just got to keep our shoulders to the wheel, everyone committed to the big picture.
“Keep bringing in great people, get our selection right, get our strategies right, work within the system. The wheel will turn and we’ll deliver, it’s just a matter of time.”
Garry Lyon doesn’t believe the Fremantle coach has to win a flag to keep his job in the long-term.
“I’m not all about you have to win a flag in three years to keep your job,” he said.
“You have to be very much contending in that period of time (the next three to five years).
“I think there’s been a subtle change in the back-half of last year. Whether that persists we’ll watch closely.
“I think there’s been a change in the way he goes about it.
“Michael Walters up in the midfield, the Hill brothers, Andrew Brayshaw can play some attacking footy, Nathan Fyfe’s an animal so there could be some subtle changes.”
The Dockers take on North Melbourne in Round 1 at Optus Stadium.