Nobody saw that coming, least of all Mark Harvey and the St. Kilda Football Club. Well, that’s not exactly true.
Freo officials and Ross Lyon had obviously been in cahoots for weeks plotting one of the greatest acts of bastardry seen in ‘professional’ Australian sport.
That’s a fair effort considering the calibre we’ve seen over the years.
When Mark Harvey took over from Chris Connolly as Dockers coach late in 2007, the club was typically in all-sorts.
Harvs pretty much went back to year zero and put his faith in the kids, a brave move in a club built on player scraps from their rivals. After a tough couple of years, Freo surged into the top eight last year, winning a home final against the Hawks.
Season 2011 started out with so much promise but was killed off by an horrific run of injuries. The Dockers could’ve had Mick Malthouse in charge and they still would’ve limped out of the finals race.
Over the same period, “Ross the Boss” took the Sainters to three grand finals in two years, coming agonizingly close to winning a flag, two flags even.
Then came last night’s bombshell. Out: Harvey. In: Lyon.
Stuff like this can tear footy clubs apart. Where does the loyalty of staff, players and supporters lie?
Ah, there’s that word again: ‘loyalty’. We all know ‘loyalty’, the most abused word in professional sport, went out with the biff. Still doesn’t stop jilted clubs playing the ‘loyalty card’ whenever a star player leaves.
And you can bet “loyalty” won’t be mentioned by the grubs with blood on their hands at today’s media conference.
Freo have been a bad joke for most of their sixteen years in the AFL. But they’ve been a solo act the whole time. Now, with Lyon in charge, they’ve formed one helluva comedy duo.
So forget Laurel & Hardy, Abbott & Costello, Gra-Gra and Bert, because the Freo & Lyon show is coming soon to a ground near you.
Just make sure you bring a basket full of rotten fruit to ping at the bastards.