FREMANTLE’S western derby losing streak is reaching breaking point and coach Ross Lyon is determined to send his kids to school with something to brag about next time.
West Coast will be aiming to make it a record-equalling nine derby wins on the trot when they face off against their arch cross-town enemy on Saturday night.
The only other time a derby streak has stretched so long was at the very start of the rivalry when the Eagles regularly beat up on the Dockers from 1995-99.
Fremantle fans have been copping it sweet from Eagles supporters in recent years and Lyon revealed even his kids were putting some pressure on him to turn the derby record around.
“The kids cop it a bit at school on the Monday after the losses,” Lyon said.
“My daughter wants to finish her schooling in Perth at PLC. So she said, ‘You need to coach better’.
“I’ve taken that on board over the summer and turned things around a little bit. She said, ‘You need to keep it going dad’.”
Eagles coach Adam Simpson said his team’s recent winning run doesn’t mean anything heading into the 50th western derby.
The premiership coach has learnt to keep things as normal as possible during the derby week, but admits his kids can get caught up in the hype.
“They ride the waves,” Simpson said.
“My son asked me a couple of years ago if I was going to retire. I think he meant was I going to get the arse. So those things come and go.
“The rivalry – it’s great for the state. It’s great for WA. We enjoy playing the games.”
Both Lyon and Simpson were in playful moods during their joint press conference on Thursday.
When asked about his typical derby week, Lyon quipped: “I start a thread on WhatsApp with Adam and let the barbs go through. Other than that I try to keep it routine.”
Fremantle (7-7) are in desperate need of a win after slumping to shock losses to Melbourne and Carlton over the past fortnight.
“No one likes losing at anything. I play my 10-year-old son and want to beat him at marbles, let alone a derby,” Lyon said.
“You can’t sneak around in league footy. If you want to play finals this game counts and you need to win.”
Saturday’s match marks the first time Eagles midfielder Andrew Gaff will confront a Fremantle home crowd since his off-the-ball punch on Andrew Brayshaw last year.
Both Lyon and Simpson felt the incident was old news.
“I had the pleasure of Andrew Gaff in International Rules and he’s a great player and a great person,” Lyon said.
“He’s had 10 million great moments and he’s had a moment he maybe could have handled better.
“But we’ve all moved on. So I’m not interested in regurgitating it.”
The Eagles will recall Jeremy McGovern (suspension) and Tom Barrass (corked calf).
Lyon said the Dockers would welcome back Rory Lobb (foot) if he makes it through training, but he was yet to make a decision on Aaron Sandilands (calf).