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Justin Longmuir appointed Fremantle coach

Fremantle spoke to Gold Coast assistant Dean Solomon and to former West Coast and Fremantle assistant Peter Sumich as part of their search process, in which Longmuir was the clear favourite from the outset.

While Longmuir, 38, is a relatively young coach, he has been in the AFL coaching system for more than a decade.

He worked at the West Coast Eagles under John Worsfold and Adam Simpson before crossing to Collingwood ahead of the 2018 season, following the Magpies review that saw Buckley survive in a revamped football department.

He was heavily influenced by the late Phil Walsh, the ex-Crows coach who acted as a mentor when Longmuir was at West Coast.

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Longmuir, who played 139 games for the Dockers, was the architect of Collingwood’s vastly improved defensive system and back line in 2018 and 2019, when the Magpies fell a kick short of winning the premiership and lost the preliminary final by four points.

Fremantle football chief Peter Bell, chairman Dale Alcock, club directors Peter Mann and Sue Murphy plus former Docker Luke McPharlin were on the subcommittee that made the recommendation to the club board.

A great deal of uncertainty remains around the Fremantle coaching panel for 2020, with most of the club’s assistants out of contract.

Fremantle’s past four senior coaches – Lyon, Mark Harvey, Chris Connolly and Damian Drum – were from Victoria. Longmuir, drafted at pick No. 2 in the 1998 draft, is the first former Fremantle player to coach the Dockers, but was viewed as a certain future senior coach after his stint at Collingwood.

The Dockers had sacked Lyon with one game remaining in the 2019 season and with one season remaining on Lyon’s contract.

Lyon had coached the Dockers for eight seasons, starting in 2012, and taken the club to a grand final in 2013 and finals in his first four seasons before Fremantle underwent a rebuild and haven’t seen September since.

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