Ross Lyon set Paul Roos straight.
Ross Lyon set Paul Roos straight.

Dockers coach hits back at Roos

Fremantle coach Ross Lyon has hit back at Paul Roos after the former coach turned AFL pundit gave Dockers star Nat Fyfe a clip for his defensive effort in his side's loss to Gold Coast on the weekend.

The Suns shocked the men from the west with a 7.19 (61) to 8.10 (58) win on the glitter strip in a performance that led ex-Sydney mentor Roos to label Fyfe's defensive running "bottom end".

Speaking on Fox Footy's On the Couch, Roos took the Fremantle captain to task about his work without the ball.

"Fyfe, who I know is an outstanding player - some of his off-ball running is bottom end. It's just absolutely bottom," Roos said.

"When they (the Dockers) don't have the football, he doesn't work hard enough defensively.

"The trick to it is to get off him and run - and that's what the Suns did him really well."

Former Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse also slammed Fyfe's defensive work as "deplorable" in a piece for The Sunday Times last month but Lyon jumped to the defence of the 2015 Brownlow Medal winner.

Lyon was an assistant coach to Roos for years at the Swans but that didn't stop him setting his former colleague straight, telling Channel 7 Roos was completely wrong about his assessment of Fyfe.

"The first thing is, Nathan is an outstanding player. It's easy to leverage a headline off him - everyone picks it up and runs with it," Lyon said.

"All great midfielders try to be exploited by the opposition and that's why team defences (have) really come about.

"You've got to understand Paul's lens … (he taught) the strictest one-on-one game plan probably in the last 30 years. We look through different lenses and we see different things but both coaches (saw) fit to give Nathan coaches association votes on the weekend.

"He's a very special player, teams try to exploit him and I would say he's in pretty good form."

Ross Lyon set his former colleague straight.
Ross Lyon set his former colleague straight.

LYON COPS FLAK FROM ANOTHER AFL STAR

Last week Garry Lyon hit back at Scott Pendlebury after the Collingwood skipper criticised him for being too harsh in his criticism of Max Gawn, and this week Steven May is in the Melbourne great's crosshairs.

Lyon said May, who moved from the Gold Coast to Melbourne this season, didn't turn up to pre-season in great shape and questioned his professionalism in the wake of a couple of soft tissue injuries, before the star defender returned serve on Tuesday night.

Speaking on Fox Sports' AFL Tonight, May admitted the Demons had higher standards than he was expecting but was adamant he was doing everything he can to fit into the team culture.

"I didn't see Garry much in the pre-season or anything. So he has obviously got that from someone else, but people are entitled to their opinions. We're in the footy bubble," May said.

"I came back in what I usually do if not a bit better. And I got to the Dees and their standards were a lot shorter: everyone had to be under certain skinfolds and time trials had to be elite.

"I went and saw the dietitian, saw the strength and conditioning coach, saw the coaches and put in a plan and executed that and got myself in good condition.

"That was my first pre-season (at Melbourne). That can't happen again and certainly won't because I've educated myself and the club has educated me on what's required at the Demons."

Steven May has come under fire.
Steven May has come under fire.

Lyon had the final say on SEN Breakfast on Wednesday, suggesting the Demons' new recruit may not have suffered a hamstring issue in the pre-season and a groin injury against Geelong on the weekend had he been in better physical condition when he arrived in Melbourne.

"I think Steven arrived at the same conclusion that I had yesterday and that is he has to get up to speed a hell of a lot quicker and maybe as a result of that he wouldn't have the soft tissue (injuries)," Lyon said.

"And I don't think that's an opinion that is just mine. I'm just saying that. I think Steven would be acutely aware of the standard he needs to be at."

May will miss Friday night's clash against Essendon because of his groin injury and will potentially miss more footy once the full extent of the issue is known.

PHILLIPS FACES AN UNCERTAIN FUTURE

Erin Phillips stands at the top of one mountain, knowing she is at the bottom of another.

Two days after co-captaining Adelaide to the AFLW premiership, she capped her outstanding season by winning the league's best and fairest award and being named skipper of the All-Australian team.

Phillips had the best and fairest award secured with two of the seven rounds of voting still to be counted and she polled 19 of a possible 21. But her heavy limp at Tuesday's awards night function is Phillips' new reality. The 33-year-old will undergo a left knee reconstruction after her devastating grand final injury.

After talking pre-game about wanting to be part of a Crows premiership dynasty that would rival dad Greg and brother-in-law Shaun Burgoyne, Phillips is now unsure about her playing future.

"Right now, I wouldn't make any decisions because I know it's all emotional," she said. "I'm at the bottom of a big mountain to climb with this rehab.

"There's not much need right now to say yes or no, just see how this rehab goes."

Another factor is that Phillips' wife Tracy is 22 weeks pregnant with their third child.

Phillips also underwent a knee reconstruction on her right knee 12 years ago and knows grimly what lies ahead.

 

Erin Phillips faces a long road of rehab.
Erin Phillips faces a long road of rehab.

"The hardest part - and it was evident even in the last couple of days - is having the kids jump all over you and you can't run after them," she said. "I know what the process is and what's ahead - that's probably the reason I cried on the field.

"It is an annoying, long rehab and physically, mentally testing. But that's the price you pay sometimes with sport."

Tracy wants her to keep playing for a while yet.

"She's not ready for me to retire - she's like, 'You've got another five or six years'," Phillips said.

"I look at her sideways. 'I don't think you understand how hard this game really is'."

An emotional Phillips confirmed onstage that she was sounded out to apply for the head coaching role with her WNBA team the Dallas Wings. But Phillips did not go through the process because she was not ready to give up playing AFLW.

Phillips is the youngest of three daughters and said parents Greg and Julie were told many times that they had missed out not having a son to continue his strong football lineage.

The AFLW's undisputed top player drew loud applause when she said her parents could now stick up those detractors.

"I heard that plenty of times," she said. "They're people who don't really matter.

"Those jokes don't go around now because of AFLW - but it was hard."

Roger Vaughan, AAP

COX ESCAPES AFL BAN

 

Mason Cox is free to play.
Mason Cox is free to play.

Collingwood giant Mason Cox will play in the AFL grand final rematch against West Coast after his one-game suspension was downgraded to a fine.

After a lengthy and complex one-hour hearing on Tuesday evening, the three-man jury took just five minutes to decide on a verdict for the American's rough conduct charge.

The jury of Richard Loveridge, Wayne Henwood and Jason Johnson ruled that Cox's collision with Richmond defender Dylan Grimes was rough conduct. They also agreed with the original classification of low impact. But crucially, they disagreed with match review officer Michael Christian, who had classified the charge as intentional conduct.

The jury ruled it was careless conduct, meaning a $3000 fine rather than the original one-game ban.

It's a significant win for the Magpies ahead of Saturday night's much-anticipated clash against the reigning premiers at the MCG.

"It's downgraded to a $3000 fine, so it's done and dusted and we'll move on to West Coast," Cox said after the hearing.

Soon after the verdict, Magpies captain Scott Pendlebury tweeted "Mason FREE". The charge from last Thursday night's clash attracted plenty of media comment, with Adelaide captain Taylor Walker saying earlier on Tuesday the case was a waste of time.

Richmond's medical report, tabled early in the hearing, was good news for Cox. It stated that Grimes did not suffer concussion as a result of the collision with the big American and is not expected to miss any games. Cox testified that he was looking at the ball and was moving into position when he only saw Grimes "two or three feet" away.

"I just braced for collision - he was coming to me with force and I was coming back to my line," Cox said.

Under questioning from AFL advocate Jeff Gleeson, Cox remained adamant that his only intention was to brace for a collision.

Gleeson had to repeat several questions to Cox, who usually ended up simply answering "no".

In his summing up, Gleeson said the ball was about 15m from the collision and contended that Cox moved towards Grimes to either bump or block him.

"This is not a reflexive brace for impact, but a proactive move (towards Grimes)," Gleeson said. "He is seen on the vision to take two or three steps towards Grimes."

Cox's advocate Robert O'Neill argued that Cox did not turn or lower his body to make contact with Grimes.

Roger Vaughan, AAP