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Friday, June 29, 2018

Bradley Hill may play multiple WAFL games, says Fremantle coach Ross Lyon

Play well.
That’s the simple message for star Fremantle wingman Bradley Hill as he prepares for his Peel Thunder debut against Swan Districts at Bendigo Bank Stadium tomorrow.
But coach Ross Lyon didn’t guarantee today that one strong performance at the Thunder would see the club’s reigning club champion back in the Fremantle side.
Hill must spend at last one week in the WAFL as part of his punishment for a drunken night out while he was battling a lingering knee injury.
“He would acknowledge he wasn’t at his best before he went out,” Lyon said. “Our wingmen are playing quite well.
“He’ll play a significant part, we hope, going forward. I haven’t put my head to it (whether one strong game is enough) really, I think it would be unfair to speculate.”
Lyon also revealed today that rising star Connor Blakely would be sidelined for longer than the six weeks first thought after knee surgery. Blakely has played every game this season but is unlikely be seen again in 2018.
Blakely has been carrying a knee problem for 18 months, but went down at training on Wednesday and has had to have cartilage damage repaired.
“The operation went well, they were able to repair it, which is really significant for his future,” Lyon said. “He’ll be in better shape as he gets older but it will mean a longer rehab. He’ll be really stretching it to be able to get back I would imagine.”
Lyon confirmed key defender Alex Pearce would wear a splint if he returns from a broken thumb against Brisbane at Optus Stadium on Sunday.
“He went to the surgeon, the surgeon has given him the all clear,” he said. “They’ve said yes so we’ll just need to see that he’ll handle the ball. Hopefully he trains well today but we’re in good form so we’ve got some selection headaches.”
Lyon also indicated Harley Bennell’s stay could be extended at the Dockers, regardless of whether he plays at the top level in the back half of the season.
Bennell will also play for the Thunder tomorrow.
“He’s got to build to full AFL volume of fitness and he’s probably two thirds of the way there on volume and sprint stuff and then he’s got to find form because as much as they respect Harley, no one has walked through the door and said: ‘Here’s my spot, give Harley a run’,” Lyon said.
“It’s not about the next six weeks, we want it about the next six years because we think if we can build the body and the form we know he is a top-flight player and he is building nicely.”
Lyon surprised young fan Marley Kiernan at his press conference today, revealing the 14-year-old would toss the coin against the Lions.
Marley was born with Vater Syndrome, which is a sporadic association of specific birth defects or abnormalities. With this condition Marley has undergone numerous surgeries since birth.
Most recently Marley underwent a kidney transplant in June last year. He watched training at the Stadium with his parents today.