AAP AFL

Dockers won’t breathe down Shiel’s neck

By AAP Newswire

Fremantle coach Ross Lyon has some good news for Essendon midfielder Dylan Shiel - we probably won't tag you.

Shiel, who crossed from GWS to Essendon at the end of last year, is averaging a career-high 29 disposals per game this season.

But his kicking efficiency has come under fire, as well as his inaccuracy in front of goal given he is 0.7 for the year.

In last week's loss to Sydney, Shiel tallied just 17 possessions and finished with a disposal efficiency of 41 per cent.

The Dockers have mostly opted against using taggers this season, and Lyon said that trend was likely to continue in Saturday night's clash with the Bombers at Marvel Stadium.

"We like that we've been proactive," Lyon said.

"I don't want to get too defensive on you and tag people.

"We probably won't tag, but we'll make sure that we respect (Shiel's) ability."

Lyon believes some of the criticism Shiel has copped may have been unfair.

"Those inside mids get judged very harshly about their disposal when you think in the modern game how much pressure it puts on them," Lyon said.

"His best is very good. He's having a super year."

Essendon's season is teetering at 3-5 following three straight losses.

Bombers coach John Worsfold has reacted by swinging the axe, dumping Zac Clarke, David Myers, and Brayden Ham.

Orazio Fantasia (quad) and Devon Smith (knee) were both ruled out, but the return of Joe Daniher is a huge boost.

Mark Baguley, Josh Begley, Kyle Langford, and Ben McNiece also earned recalls.

The Dockers have been bolstered by the return of Connor Blakely from hamstring surgery, while Taylin Duman was also called up.

Former Bomber Travis Colyer was dropped along with defender Ryan Nyhuis.

Fremantle got jumped against Richmond last week, conceding the first four goals of the match on the way to a 25-point loss.

Lyon said it was crucial for his team to be switched on from the outset against the Bombers.

Essendon are aiming to bounce back from last week's five-point loss to Sydney.

The Bombers were fuming that they weren't awarded a free kick in the goal square after Sydney's Dane Rampe climbed the post.