Embarrassing defeat to Spurr on dirty Dockers
WITH the mild-mannered Ross Lyon at the helm, defender Lee Spurr says it hasn't been panic stations at Fremantle in the wake of its crushing opening-round loss to the Western Bulldogs.
And confronting Gold Coast back on home soil at Domain Stadium tonight, Spurr said last year's minor premiers were confident they could "play our Docker brand for four quarters".
The Dockers were stunned by the ferocity shown by the Bulldogs on their way to losing the contested disposals (157-113), contested marks (15-6), clearances (35-24) ... and the match (103-38).
Lyon said in his post-match press conference the Bulldogs had been "up for a street fight, and we were up for a nice Sunday stroll".
But, despite it being arguably the worst result in his five years in charge of the Dockers, Lyon remained "very controlled, very calm" behind closed doors with his players, Queenslander Spurr told Australian Regional Media.
"Like any coach he will give you a spray when you need it,'' he said. "But, he doesn't lose it or go over the top. He delivers fair and just feedback. It's never personal; it's always about making you better as a player, or the team better."
The Dockers were jumped seven goals to none at Docklands.
"Ross has been really positive," Spurr said. "He's addressed the areas we need to improve on. The intensity in the first quarter is certainly one of those."
Spurr described the result as "a good wake-up call", a reminder that "we need to bring the fundamentals for four quarters to win".
"We know we can do it. It's just about bringing it to life. It's a mindset, it's an application," he said.
"We've got faith in where we're going. We've got faith in our game plan. We know it stands up.
"We know it doesn't count for anything now, but we've been top four for a while, and we know our best can match it with the best."
The Dockers will look to get back to that best against the Suns, who are coming off a 10-goal win that is hard to gauge due to the fact it came against a 'topped-up' Essendon.
Gary Ablett, for one, is a clear and present danger after last week racking up 34 disposals.
"They've got a lot of their more senior players back in, so there's no doubt they're a much-improved side from last year," Spurr said.
While ruckman Aaron Sandilands is a huge inclusion for the Dockers, and Michael Johnson and Alex Pearce bolster the backline, the Suns regain defender Kade Kolodjashnij and small forward Brandon Matera in place of Touk Miller (ankle) and Matt Rosa (calf).
Spurr, who enjoyed an off-season highlighted by his wedding to Adelaide girl Olivia Helyar and a new two-year contract extension with the club, would now dearly love to be a part of that elusive first Fremantle flag.
But, the 83-gamer says the players aren't feeling any extra pressure to finally deliver it.
"Being on an AFL list you feel the pressure, 'cause you want to play. It's an intense environment. You've got to be comfortable with being uncomfortable," he said.
"You've just got to deal with the emotion and focus on the actions you need to perform, which is what we've been really good at over a long time."