Longmuir tells players to stop stuffing their stats bag

Justin Chadwick |

Coach Justin Longmuir believes the Dockers can bounce back after being thrashed by the  Bulldogs.
Coach Justin Longmuir believes the Dockers can bounce back after being thrashed by the Bulldogs.

Fremantle coach Justin Longmuir concedes his players were more worried about bulking up their stats than focusing on team defence during last week’s thumping loss to the Western Bulldogs.

The Dockers entered their bye week on a massive high after crushing Melbourne by 92 points in Alice Springs a fortnight ago.

But Fremantle were brought back to earth with a thud last Saturday by the Bulldogs, who scored 23.11 (149) on the way to a 67-point win.

The Dockers have been one of the league’s best defensive sides this year, but the score they conceded against the Bulldogs was the highest under Longmuir’s four-and-a-half-year reign.

Longmuir didn’t mince his words when analysing why things went so wrong against the Bulldogs.

Dejected Dockers.
The Dockers went from belting Melbourne by 92 points to being thrashed by the Western Bulldogs. (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS)

“There’s no doubt in the seniors on the weekend that guys were worried more about how many possessions they got than how they competed in the contest, how they pressured the opposition and how they defended,” he told reporters on Thursday.

“That’s not what I stand for as a coach.”

Longmuir has made it his mission this week to remind his players of what makes them such a good team.

“And it’s not our offence and scoring,” he said.

“When you’re coming off a 140-point score against Melbourne and you go into the bye, sometimes your priorities can just get swayed a little bit.

“I’m not talking massive margins either. It only needs to be a little bit in this game to lose your edge and give the opposition a sniff.

“We rely on what’s important – around the contest, pressure and the way we defend the ground. No doubt we’ll bounce back.”

Longmuir said he didn’t pot individuals during an honest review this week.

“No individuals got called out. The issues we covered in the team meeting were team issues,” he said ahead of Sunday’s home clash with Gold Coast.

“Yes, some individuals were in the individual clips, but they were only highlighted because it was a team problem.

“Everyone needs to bounce back.”

Longmuir praised his players for how they had owned up to the poor display.

“They came in and owned it,” he said.

“They’re up and about, they want to redeem themselves.

“I get criticised at times for being calm and composed.

“I don’t react to one performance. Just like I didn’t react to the Melbourne game, I’m not reacting to this.

“Clearly some players got some things wrong on the weekend, which contributed to us getting a lot wrong.

“I don’t think it’s going to be much to realign.

“Only two games ago we had a 92-point win. I’m confident we can turn it around.”

Fremantle will be without veteran Michael Walters (hamstring) for the next three to four weeks, but Heath Chapman (hamstring tightness) is expected to return against the Suns.