MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 21: Ross Lyon, coach of the Dockers speaks to his team during a quarter time break during the round 18 AFL match between the Essendon Bombers and the Fremantle Dockers at Etihad Stadium on July 21, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Fremantle legend Mathew Pavlich has backed his former coach Ross Lyon to still be able to produce success in the AFL. 

Lyon has been in the headlines recently given he’s been heavily tipped to take the reigns of the now-vacant senior coaching position at Carlton. 

Pavlich himself has been greatly involved in the infamous Carlton external review, and feels that with the Blues current list, now is the perfect time to unleash Lyon’s ultra disciplined style on their current playing group. 

“The playing group is relatively well established, they’ve been there for a while, all their draft picks have been high and all the trades that have come in,” the famed Docker told SEN.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - JULY 24: Dockers head coach Ross Lyon addresses the media before a Fremantle Dockers AFL training session at Victor George Kailis Oval on July 24, 2019 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

“It’s a pretty mature group if you look at that list. If you’re talking about where that team is at in their life cycle or evolution, they’ve got a good foundation there.

“My personal view about Ross, he was the best coach I had. No one is perfect and he’s got things he needed to work on and needs to work on to get the best out himself and his group and he’s fully aware of that.”

Lyon has reached the big dance three times in his coaching career, twice with St Kilda in 2009 and 2010 (as well as the 2010 Grand Final replay) and once with Fremantle in 2013. 

His signature style consisted of persistent suffocating pressure that would crush the opposition whenever they dared venture forwards. This 'Lyon methodology was best captured between his 2012-15 run with Fremantle, where the Dockers finished in the top two for points conceded in each of these seasons. 

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 03: Ross Lyon, Senior Coach of the Dockers celebrates the win with Bradley Hill during the 2019 AFL round 20 match between the Fremantle Dockers and the Geelong Cats at Optus Stadium on August 03, 2019 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Carson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Yet when prompted whether Lyon’s style could still be successful in today’s AFL, Pavlich mentioned that Lyon must adapt his holistically defensive scheming in order to fit into the modern mould that the game has taken. 

 “I retired five years ago so the game plan that I played under with Ross wouldn’t stack up because the game has changed and shifted significantly,” Pavlich said.

“There was no 6-6-6, we would send forwards up around the back of stoppages or the back of the square and play tricks. You can’t do that anymore. That’s one obvious thing that would change.

“There’s lots of other things in regard to ball movement and structures and defensive play … I think systematically teams have shifted from their defensive mechanisms. There would have to be a shift around that.

“In my view Ross’ great strengths are about the team dynamic piece, if he can get that right and that harmony and that chemistry and that challenge and that beautiful mixture of support and challenge.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 25: Matthew Pavlich of the Dockers looks on during the round four AFL match between the Fremantle Dockers and the Sydney Swans at Domain Stadium on April 25, 2015 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

“If you can get that right in an AFL environment then your team can be up and humming.”

Something that has frequently revealed itself as a structural non-existence too often this past season for the Blues is their defensive structure and capabilities.

Conversely, Carlton have displayed their ability to unload on their opposition with violent flurries of scoring, which were facilitated by daring - albeit at times poorly executed - ball movement. 

The Blues have Coleman Medal winner Harry McKay and a revitalised gun forward in Charlie Curnow on their books, giving Lyon his best twin-tower tandem since Nick Riewoldt and Justin Koschitzke.