Saints Lyon to replace axed Harvey at Freo - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Saints Lyon to replace axed Harvey at Freo

By Justin Chadwick 15/09/2011 09:38:27 PM Comments (0)

Ross Lyon is set to become Fremantle's new AFL coach, after the Dockers sensationally sacked Mark Harvey on Thursday, despite the former Bomber having a year to run on his contract.

In a remarkable turn of events late on Thursday, Lyon quit his post at St Kilda and Harvey was given the boot at Fremantle.

Lyon was contracted with the Saints for next year and told the club earlier this week he would see out his deal and possibly sign an extension.

St Kilda released a statement, claiming they had offered Lyon an unconditional four-year deal to coach the club until the end of 2015.

But Lyon turned it down and is almost certain to be unveiled as Fremantle's new coach when the Dockers hold a media conference on Friday.

In a further twist to the tale, Lyon was sacked by his management company Elite Sports Properties on Thursday night, after they claimed they were kept in the dark over his dealings with "another AFL football club".

"Given that ESP has not been privy to any of these discussions, a decision has been made to cease our management relationship with Ross," ESP - which also manages Harvey - said in a statement.

St Kilda assistant coach Robert Harvey has assumed responsibility as the Saints' senior coach on an interim basis.

Mark Harvey, who had been at the Dockers' helm since taking over from Chris Connolly late in 2007, took Fremantle to a shock semi-final appearance last season.

But hopes of another finals berth in 2011 were scuppered by a devastating injury toll, causing the club to struggle even to field a fit side by the end of the year.

Fremantle lost their last seven games to finish in 11th place with a 9-13 win-loss record.

But with the list containing a glut of talented young guns and star veterans, the Dockers' hierarchy remained optimistic the club would be a premiership contender in future years.

Harvey had no idea of his fate when he attended a football awards breakfast in Perth on Thursday morning.

The popular 46-year-old then attended what he thought would be a run-of-the-mill meeting at club headquarters, where he was reportedly shattered after being told his services were no longer required.

An early theory behind Harvey's demise were possible tensions between him and the club's medical department.

Numerous times this season, Harvey rushed back players who might have been underdone.

Midfielder Michael Barlow (leg), Nick Suban (leg) and Sandilands (toe) required more time on the sidelines after being rushed back from their respective injuries, while veteran Adam McPhee failed to fire after a straight-up AFL recall from a knee injury.

Fremantle chief executive Steve Rosich felt Harvey's sacking was "in the best interests of the long-term future" of the Dockers.

"We are very grateful for everything that Mark has done during his six years at the club and wish Mark all the best for the future, both personally and professionally," Rosich said in a statement.

Harvey, who notched 206 games with Essendon before serving a lengthy coaching apprenticeship under Kevin Sheedy at the Bombers, finished with a 39-58 win-loss record at the Dockers.

Perth talkback radio was flooded with calls from fans angry about the shock sacking, with some even promising to hand back their memberships over the decision.

"They can stick it (the membership) up their arse where it belongs," one talkback caller said.

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