AFL Saints coach fuels talk on his future - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

AFL Saints coach fuels talk on his future

By Greg Buckle 06/09/2011 06:30:14 PM Comments (0)

St Kilda coach Ross Lyon fuelled speculation over his future by refusing on Tuesday to confirm he would remain with the AFL club next year.

Lyon, who guided the Saints to grand final appearances in 2009 and 2010, will coach the club in Saturday night's elimination final against Sydney at Etihad Stadium.

Despite being contracted for another year with the Saints, Lyon's name has been strongly linked with the vacant coaching role at Melbourne for 2012.

The fifth-year coach, who has led St Kilda to a fourth consecutive finals campaign, reacted angrily when asked to confirm reports he had recently told the Saints players he was committed to the club for next year.

"I feel like I've answered everything to do with that topic, so I'm not going to indulge it any more," Lyon said.

Lyon, who left Tuesday's press conference complaining about the line of questioning over his coaching future, may have to brace himself for similar queries until the issue is settled.

"Let me clear it up for everyone in the room. My position hasn't changed," Lyon said.

"I don't deal in rumour and innuendo. And certainly I am committed as I have ever been to my role and my status hasn't changed one iota.

"I think that answers it for everybody."

In fact, it achieved the opposite, leaving Saints skipper Nick Riewoldt in the awkward position of having to sit next to his coach and talk about Lyon's future.

Riewoldt said opinions of people outside the club wouldn't affect the team's preparations for their knockout final and he hoped Lyon stayed on next year.

"He's a fantastic coach," Riewoldt said.

"Outside that, I'm the same as Ross.

"I'm not really willing to speculate or deal in the rumours.

"Everyone has got to respect that we've got a big game this week.

"Any suggestion that we'd be distracted by what people are saying externally regarding Ross' future, it's just totally right off the mark.

"Everyone is totally focused from the coach down on this week."

Lyon was more keen to talk about the clash with Sydney.

"It's going to be fierce, it's going to be on," Lyon said.

"It's going to go until the last second, so that's what we'll be preparing for."

St Kilda and Sydney both finished with 12-and-a-half wins from 22 matches. Sydney scored a 15-point win over the Saints at a slippery ANZ Stadium three weeks ago and Lyon says Saturday night's game will be similarly tough.

"The concern is Sydney whacked us up there.

"It's going to be a cracker, there's no doubt about that."

Lyon was encouraged by the performance of 32-year-old ruckman Michael Gardiner, who played his first game for the season in Saturday night's win over Carlton.

"He's certainly fit and available and he's in a really good head space," Lyon said of Gardiner, who missed last year's grand final replay after tearing a hamstring in the drawn game.

He said the enclosed venue would suit tall players.

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