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Ross Lyon pays tribute to ‘proud indigenous boy’ Michael Walters

Fremantle coach Ross Lyon has paid tribute to his indigenous stars after Michael Walters kicked the match-winning point after the siren to beat Brisbane at Optus Stadium.

Walters took a mark and then hit the post with his set shot after the siren to lift Fremantle to a 10.13 (73) to 10.12 (72) victory that kept them in the finals conversation at 5-5.

The Dockers had wasted several opportunities throughout the quarter, kicking 1.6 for the term, but Walters’ behind made the difference.

The Fremantle forward had 25 disposals and kicked two goals. He said performing during indigenous round was important.

“It means a lot,” Walters said. “I’m a proud indigenous boy from Midland.

“I just want to be a role model no matter what. I’m out here to perform, but at the end of the day I want everyone to follow my lead.

“Footy is a good vehicle.”

Fremantle’s indigenous players were superb. Bradley Hill was outstanding with 31 disposals and 757m gained.

His inspirational smother on Mitch Hinge during the final quarter helped to set up a shot for goal.

Nathan Wilson had 758m gained among 30 possessions in defence, while Lyon praised Joel Hamling, Alex Pearce and Brandon Matera for their contributions.

“To be able to express themselves — I thought all of our Aboriginal players tonight were outstanding,” Lyon said.

“I thought Wilson was incredible, Brad Hill, I thought Joel Hamling got to work, Alex Pearce, Brandon Matera and Michael Walters is a consistently great player.”

Playing against his former club for the first time, Lachie Neale overcame a quiet start to finish with 26 disposals, including eight clearances for the Lions. The crowd booed at times but he was largely allowed to play his own game without significant attention from the Dockers.

“It’s probably not as good as day as he’s been having but it’s a pretty big occasion coming back here to his former home ground, playing against his old club,” Lions coach Chris Fagan said.

“It’s always challenging. I thought he handled himself pretty well.”

The Dockers were demolished in the centre square, losing that clearance battle 13-5 but still won the clearances 37-31 overall.

Lyon was thrilled with the team’s desire to take the game on.

“I thought we dominated the last quarter and were just trying to convert,” Lyon said.

“I thought our ball movement was at times electric out our back half. I thought it was exciting.”

The win ended a three-game losing run and lifted Fremantle back into the eight.

Lyon said he was happy with Jesse Hogan’s effort despite the key forward failing to have a single kick among his eight disposals. Hogan took only one mark for the day.

His opponent, Harris Andrews, was superb with 10 marks and four of those were contested.

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