Fremantle are aiming to make it two AFL wins on the trot when they take on the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium.
Fremantle AFL coach Ross Lyon probably wouldn’t be any good at yoga.
With the Dockers approaching a run of nine games against lesser opponents, Lyon should be stretching back and breathing easy.
Instead, the renowned taskmaster has the whips cracking.
Lyon wasn’t happy with his team’s inconsistency over the opening nine rounds.
And although he was pleased with their recent win over Geelong, he knows there’s still plenty of work to do if they are to at least match last year’s run to the grand final.
The Dockers will start as hot favourites against the Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
After that, they’re expected to be too good for the Crows, Tigers, Lions, Eagles, Demons, Giants, Saints and Blues.
All of those teams sit ninth or lower on the table.
If, as expected, Fremantle win all of those games, they will be inside the top four with four rounds to go.
But despite the softish run, Lyon said his team could not afford to take it easy.
“There is no breathing out here,” Lyon said. “There are no easy games.
“Teams that were under fierce heat and written off and really belittled are now real threats.
“Everyone is beating everyone.
“And the form we’re in, we don’t take anyone for granted. We are 5-4, so there’s plenty of teams that have beaten us. There’s been lots of issues.”
Bulldogs coach Brendan McCartney is under mounting pressure to produce results following his team’s 3-6 start to the year.
McCartney led the Bulldogs to eight wins last year, and hopes were high the team could go close to snaring a finals berth in 2014.
But the Bulldogs could end up being 4-9 after a tough month in which they they take on Fremantle, Brisbane, Collingwood and Port Adelaide.
Lyon defended the Bulldogs’ performances this year.
“I think they’ve been in every game,” Lyon said.
“I can’t talk about any criticism. It’s their week in the spotlight, maybe. We all get our go.
“I’ve got nothing but respect for their coach Brendan McCartney.
“And they’ve got some great experienced leaders in Cooney, Griffin, Minson, Morris – unbelievable competitors.
“They’re a really hard-nosed competitive team. They’ve only had some brief lapses that have cost them. So we’re under no illusions as to how tough it’s going to be.”
Fremantle were dealt a blow this week when utility Matt de Boer was ruled out for 4-6 weeks after injuring his knee at training.
Defender Luke McPharlin returns in the only change to Fremantle’s squad.
The Bulldogs recalled Tom Williams, Mitch Wallis and Nathan Hrovat.