So, Ross Lyon will coach Fremantle from 2012. What a shocking night last Thursday, September 15 was, beginning with a firing and ending with a hiring.
While both sets of fans will feel aggrieved by the nature of the deal (and rightly so), the hiring of Lyon is a great move for Fremantle.
I feel for Mark Harvey quite a bit, I have to say. He has done great work with that list and deserved the job next year.
I have little doubt that he will coach again at AFL level, possibly next year. I am not comfortable with the way Lyon entered the job.
I especially dislike the fact that while his management team were negotiating in good faith with the Saints, he went around their back and negotiated his own deal with Fremantle.
In a matter of hours, he negotiated the deal, if you believe Lyon’s version of events.
Having said that, however, questions have to be asked about if St. Kilda did everything they could to keep Lyon. Emotions are going to be very raw right now, but my view is Lyon is the right fit for Fremantle.
Lyon was a very good coach at St Kilda. He did great things from the list and took them to three grand finals. He wrung blood from a stone with players like Dawson, Geary, Armitage, Eddy and Clint Jones and turned them into successful role players.
Adding to all those players, were the stars like Riewoldt, Goddard, Hayes, Dal Santo and Montagna. They were a very formidable, tough side that were hard to play against. They still are.
Under Lyon, the Saints were a very good side that was very unlucky to not win a premiership from three attempts. The Saints, as Lyon correctly said, are at the end of an era.
They have two options, either they can take another crack at the premiership by being active at the trade table and keeping their list together or rebuild via the draft.
That will see them take some pain over the next few seasons.
Fremantle were crippled by injuries all season and did very well to stay in touch with the top eight for most of the year. They have an impressive list with loads of talent with players like Clarke, Silvagni, Mayne, Fyfe, Hill, de Boer, Ballantyne and the like.
Let’s not forget their stars Sandilands and Pavlich, either.
If you look at Lyon’s time at St. Kilda, you can just imagine what Lyon can do with that list. They were on the right track under Harvey, but now they have moved with Lyon.
He can be a very successful coach at Fremantle.
Given the circumstances on which he came to Freo, he will be under intense scrutiny to get results and quickly. Time will tell.