Dockers coach says Blues on right track

Justin Chadwick

Fremantle coach Ross Lyon admits he has a soft spot for Carlton, and believes the struggling AFL club is on the right path to future success.

Blues coach Brendon Bolton is under increasing pressure following a horror 2018 campaign that's yielded just two wins.

Carlton need to win two of their remaining three games to have any hope of avoiding the wooden spoon, and last week's 105-point loss to GWS was a stark reminder of how far back the Blues are.

They haven't played finals since 2013, and three-time Carlton premiership coach David Parkin reckons it might be another two or three years before the club is back in the reckoning.

Fremantle are also in rebuilding mode, but the Dockers haven't sunk to the same depths as Carlton.

Lyon, who's also come under pressure at times in the past two years, said it was important for Carlton to stick to the course.

"Carlton really gave me great opportunities to develop my coaching, so I've got a soft spot for the Blues," said Lyon, who spent five years as an assistant coach at Carlton.

"They've run into some strong headwinds, but they're doing it the right way.

"They're very similar to us. They made their strategy public - we're rebuilding, mainly relying on the draft, trying to complement with other mechanisms, and backing in their coach and trying to work through until they come out the other end.

"Along the way you're going to get brutalised a bit, but you've got to hold the course.

"There's no greater example than Richmond. Damien Hardwick didn't win a final in his first seven years. There's some good lessons out there for you."

The Dockers host Carlton at Optus Stadium on Sunday, and Lyon is wary the Blues will be fired up following a week of criticism.

Fremantle have also endured an emotional week after Sunday's western derby, when Andrew Brayshaw had his jaw broken by an off-the-ball punch from Andrew Gaff.

Lyon hopes his players can channel their emotions into Sunday's match.

The Blues welcome back ruckman Matthew Kreuzer for the first time since he experienced an elevated heart rate in the round 17 loss to St Kilda.

Fremantle made five changes, with Darcy Tucker (back), Stephen Hill (quad) and Brayshaw (jaw) going out injured.