Lyon catches Saints on the hop - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lyon catches Saints on the hop

By Melissa Woods 16/09/2011 03:06:28 PM Comments (0)

Ross Lyon took only five minutes to terminate his five-year tenure as St Kilda coach, turning his back on the AFL club in a shock move to join Fremantle.

Lyon was on Friday announced as the new coach of the Dockers, after cutting ties with the club he had taken to the last two AFL grand finals.

St Kilda believed Lyon had agreed to their offer of a new four-year deal with the club and hoped to announce that on Thursday, but instead the coach called a late meeting with chief executive Michael Nettlefold to say he was out.

It's believed Lyon delivered the news and then cut the meeting short inside five minutes, refusing to say why he was leaving the club which was last week eliminated from the AFL finals by Sydney.

The Saints resisted the temptation to publicly criticise Lyon on Friday, with Nettlefold and club president Greg Westaway both remarkably calm about his actions, beyond saying they were disappointed in the shock move.

"We haven't had any discussions with Ross about any of the reasons at this point," said Nettlefold when asked why Lyon quit.

"That's a question for Ross."

Added Westaway: "I think it's irrelevant now, you're talking about history, we're talking about the future."

Some senior Saints players are understood to be seething that not enough was done to keep the coach, with St Kilda now one of AFL four clubs - joining Adelaide, Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs - on the hunt for a new senior man.

"Disappointment is the only word I can come up with because Ross served us well," Westaway said.

"He's had five good years here and he's achieved a lot and I had every reason to believe up until 5.30pm last night he was going to continue on with the St Kilda football club."

Westaway said he didn't feel betrayed that Lyon had been secretly negotiating with Fremantle, even behind the back of his own management company, Elite Sport Properties.

"Football's that sort of business, people move on, things change," he said.

"I wouldn't call it betrayal."

Nettlefold said there was only respect at St Kilda for Lyon and the coach was always welcome at the club.

"Ross Lyon's record stands alone ... he's been an outstanding coach at this football club," Nettlefold said.

"He's had a great group of players to work with, they'll continue to be here performing for the club."

Former players Andrew Thompson and Nathan Burke, football manager Chris Pelchen and Nettlefold will form the basis of a committee charged with finding a new coach, although Nettlefold insisted they would not approach anyone already under contract, including Collingwood's Mick Malthouse.

Assistant coach and former Saints great Robert Harvey has been named interim coach, to co-ordinate player reviews, trade and draft weeks.

Nettlefold said he didn't feel the club was behind the eight-ball, with the other clubs a month advanced in their search for a new coach and already interviewing prospects.

"There is enough talent out there and we will get the right man," he said."

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