Fremantle and Carlton urged to release handbrakes after poor starts

Two coaches of clubs – viewed by many pundits pre-season as strong finals contenders – have been urged to release the “handbrake” on their respective sides and admit their game styles need to change.

Well over half of the 28 Fox Footy pundits surveyed pre-season predicted both Fremantle and Carlton would feature in this year’s finals series after promising 2022 campaigns.

But concerns over both teams have emerged during the early stages of this season – particularly Fremantle, which has won just one of its first six games. The Blues, meanwhile, have dropped their past two matches.

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“It’s been all talk with no action,” Dockers legend Matthew Pavlich said of the Dockers on 9 News Perth.

“In the AFL there is trying, and then there is really trying, and at the moment they are being simply outworked.

“It’s all well and good to be aggressive off the ball – I didn’t have too much of an issue with some of the stuff on Rory Lobb – but unless you’re willing to put that aside and focus on winning the ball and working for and with your teammates, then you may as well forget about the bluff and bluster.”

‘Bit of a snooze fest’ Kingy on Carlton | 01:21

Both the Dockers and Blues have drawn criticism for their slow, static ball movement in recent performances.

Essendon legend Matthew Lloyd urged Carlton coach Michael Voss and Fremantle coach Justin Longmuir to tweak their tactics.

“Those two – as the figureheads of their clubs – need to have walked in there (on Monday) and go: ‘OK boys, this is what I’ve got wrong … and this is where we’re going this week,’” Lloyd told 3AW’s Wide World of Sports Radio.

“I know (Bulldogs coach) Luke Beveridge did it after Round 2. He walked in and put his hand up and said: ‘I don’t believe I’ve coached you guys well enough. We aren’t defending at all, we’re sagging off, we’re allowing too much space’ — and put his hand up to the players and said: ‘I’ve got this wrong. I’ve selected wrong and I’m teaching you in a way where you aren’t executing what I want.’

Carlton Press Conference | 09:26

“I feel that Voss and Longmuir need to walk in there and fall on their swords in a sense. I think they should let their players play more.

“I think Carlton and Freo have the handbrake on a lot when the rest of the comp is playing a different way.”

Lloyd said the Blues appeared to be playing “with a lot of tension and (fear of) mistakes” – compared to a club like Collingwood that “embraces mistakes” – adding they “lack connection as a football club and a football team”.

Meanwhile, Fremantle champion and AFL Rising Star winner Paul Hasleby said Longmuir should concede the Dockers’ defensive-heavy tactics need to change.

Asked if it was difficult for a coach to concede their style isn’t working, Hasleby told SEN WA: “I don’t think it’s that hard.

“There’s a bit of ego with that, but when you have got the evidence of six weeks and you have the evidence of watching other games and watching some of the better teams play a certain way, then I think everybody in that coaching group should be having those discussions about saying ‘we do need to change’.

Fremantle Dockers Press Conference | 09:08

“Somebody should be challenging Justin Longmuir on this. I know it does stay with the coach and he does have the final say, but they are not watching other teams and I say exactly the same thing about Carlton right now and Michael Voss.

“I watch those two teams Fremantle and Carlton and it’s like they are the only two that have just persisted with what has worked for them in the past.

“And that is probably a big stretch for Carlton because they haven’t played finals for a long time, so it probably hasn’t worked, but the difference is Carlton have two of the best forwards in the competition. Fremantle would love to have Curnow and McKay.

“But it’s just a philosophy change that needs to take place. Can you do that in a week? Maybe not. Can you do it in three weeks, four weeks, five weeks? I think you can over a period of time.”