Everyone – except those charged with managing Channel Seven’s twitter account – was across the news on Thursday night that Ross Lyon had quit as St Kilda coach and was en-route to Fremantle following the bizarre sacking of Mark Harvey.
For the most part, Saints fans – judging by talkback radio anyway, appear on the whole to be taking the latest in a series of bad news stories at St Kilda in recent months decades in their collective stride.
Whatever your views on the matter – a new benchmark in clandestine headhunting or a new low in loyalty, the senior core of the St Kilda playing list have been dudded like never seen before in this game we love.
Ross Lyon, as we all do, has the right to switch jobs at any time he so pleases. For the vast majority of us, employment contracts are ostensibly not worth the paper they’re written on; moreso in AFL.
While there is a strong case to suggest that given St Kilda’s propensity to sack contracted coaches, Lyon’s sudden departure is giving the club a taste of its own medicine – karma can be a real bitch – but Lyon owed his players more upon leaving.
If your idea of saying goodbye to a group of people and a club is phone call to Nick Riewoldt and a visit to Lenny Hayes then sure, Ross Lyon owes St Kilda nothing.
Nick Dal Santo, Jason Gram, Leigh Montagna, Sam Fisher and Brendan Goddard – St Kilda’s warrior class – have every right to feel abandoned by their former coach.
They’ve been through a lot with Lyon. Three losing Grand Finals in two years. That would be enough to break the spirits of the toughest of competitors and if not for their disastrous start to season 2011 might have found themselves in a better position with which to attack this year’s premiership.
And so, after putting their bodies on the line and executing his game plan over five years, their mentor heads west without an eye-to-eye thank you or goodbye.
An opinion of Fremantle and Lyon’s ethics aside, to bail on his players as he has after what they’ve been through as a group is at best very ordinary and at worst cowardly.
He may not have used the word loyalty to his players in the past, but from today Lyon will forever have a credibility issue with the word “commitment” when used in a football sense.
Not something I’d want to have as an issue with the coach of my football club.
But then, we are talking about the Fremantle Football Club.