Greats’ call: Lyon a good fit for Saints
St Kilda legends including Brendon Goddard have urged the club to consider a dramatic reunion with Ross Lyon after his shock sacking by Fremantle yesterday.
The Dockers lost patience with Lyon after missing finals for a fourth straight year and will pay out the final year of his $850,000 contract.
The pay out will push the club through the AFL's football department soft cap.
Fremantle was yesterday undaunted at having to pay that tax, fearing they would be left "treading water" if Lyon coached again next year.
The club also sacked chief executive officer Steve Rosich after suffering the league's biggest fall in membership this year.
"There is no sugar coating it, it is clear that for a number of reasons that as a club we haven't performed at a level that meets either our expectations or our supporters' expectations," Dockers president Dale Alcock said.
Lyon had predicted his demise a full season ago, telling a departing Fremantle player that if the losses mounted, chief executive Steve Rosich might move him on to save his own job.
Remarkably, both Rosich and Lyon were sacked yesterday with former Hawthorn ruckman and leading assistant David Hale to coach the club in Round 23 against Port Adelaide.
Lyon said he would have liked to have finished next year.
"I feel I've matured, but I leave not having achieved what I want to," Lyon said.
Ex-St Kilda star Brendon Goddard said the Saints would be mad not to consider Lyon again, saying his efforts remained as modern as ever.
Collingwood assistant coach and former Docker Justin Longmuir will immediately become the short-priced favourite for the Fremantle job.
He has continually been linked to the club and enjoys strong internal support from within Fremantle.
He is prepared to meet with the Dockers but would first need to navigate Collingwood's finals campaign.
Ex-Collingwood player Adam Oxley, delisted last year, told the Herald Sun Longmuir was ready to step up as a senior coach.
Goddard told Fox Footy's AFL Tonight that Lyon was the best of the experienced coaches now up for grabs.
"There is no doubt, he is clearly of all the uncontracted coaches the most experienced in my opinion and he is the best coach but he has got to find a fit that is right for him," Goddard said.
"He would be welcomed back by the supporters."
Goddard said Lyon would also be a good fit for Essendon if the Bombers were looking for a coach beyond John Worsfold.
"I don't want to disrespect Woosher (John Worsfold) but (if he was sacked) whether it's a succession plan with (Ben) Rutten or (Blake) Caracella, in my opinion they would benefit from having him as coach."
Lyon would have to go through a full process at St Kilda and while he has strong support from ex-players the board is less likely to believe he is their future coach.
Brett Ratten seems extremely likely to secure the long-term role at the Saints.
St Kilda legend Nick Riewoldt backed Goddard's call and said he was sure Lyon would coach on as early as next year.
"I think he will. It burns in him. He is a coach. I think it will work out quite well for him in the end," he said.
"(St Kilda) will look at it. They would have to. I don't know but I believe if you are going to have an exhaustive review, if you are going to go through the process and you are speaking to Brad Scott, Brett Ratten don't you have to speak to Ross Lyon?
"I think the facts would say it's the wrong call (to sack him) and it's because I have been coached by him.
"It's difficult from the outside to understand if someone's a good coach but I know Ross Lyon is a great coach.
"He is arguably as close to winning a flag without having justification in his style and winning one. He has got two groups so close.
"If he doesn't get a job over summer there will be three or four or five guys who will be in the hot seat (next year)."
Collingwood defender Tom Langdon told the Herald Sun in September last year Longmuir was ready to coach AFL, and those views were echoed by Oxley yesterday.
"After being with him for only one year, he is definitely an AFL coach ready to go," he said.
"He grabbed me in one of the early days and said, 'Would you mind catching up for a coffee'.
"We had a chat about family, background, everything outside football and he had a genuine care for every player as an individual rather than just as a coach.
"From a coaching side he sees the game different to a lot of coaches. He is very tactical and smart. He had a pretty big role to play and he is one of the reasons besides Garry Hocking that we got into a Grand Final."