Lyon to replace Harvey at Fremantle
St Kilda coach Ross Lyon will take over as Fremantle coach tomorrow, after Mark Harvey was stunningly sacked on Thursday.
Lyon, 44, resigned as St Kilda coach at 5pm Melbourne time on Thursday after he accepted Fremantle’s lucrative five-year appointment.
Lyon, 44, had for the past two days considered a significant pay rise with the Saints and a four-year deal, but he now is expected to be appointed for more than $1 million a year at Fremantle
Lyon will be confirmed as Dockers coach in Perth on Friday.
The Dockers rocked the AFL world when they sacked Harvey after four years at the helm.
Lyon appears to have won Fremantle’ appointment over sacked Western Bulldogs coach Rodney Eade, who confirmed he is not the Dockers new coach.
“I can categorically confirm that I am not Fremantle’s coach,” Eade told Sportsnewsfirst.com.au.
Eade said he had not spoken to Fremantle about coaching the Dockers since his departure from the Bulldogs after Round 21 in August.
Harvey was told on Thursday morning of his dismissal and is understood to have been shocked at Fremantle’s decision.
He was told by Fremantle heavyweights that the club had snared a top coach in a “chance of a lifetime” coaching recruitment for the Dockers and their prospects of premiership into the next two to three seasons.
St Kilda confirmed Lyon’s departure, with a statement late on Thursday.
Playing great Robert Harvey will be the Saints head coach in the interim.
“The St Kilda Football Club is disappointed that Ross Lyon will not be continuing as senior coach,” the Saints said.
Fremantle chief executive Steve Rosich has been in Melbourne all week and is understood to have been in full negotiation with the Dockers new coach.
Rosich confirmed when approached on Wednesday that he was “hiring and firing” new staff.
Lyon is now clear front runner to be Fremantle’s new coach.
His management is known to have contacted Fremantle early into August and declared an interest in taking over the Dockers if Harvey was to be removed.
Lyon recently switched to being managed by Elite Sports Properties and Craig Kelly, who also manages Mark Harvey – and Melbourne powerbroker Garry Lyon.
It was reported that ESP and Lyon have parted ways, as Kelly said he had no idea if Lyon’s negotiations with Fremantle – and had put the finishing touches to the potential deal with St Kilda.
Rosich at that time would not entertain sacking Harvey who had next year as the final season on his contract.
Harvey is known to have lost the support of senior Dockers officials and several board members.
It is believed that club administrators also became aware of Harvey’s discrete inquiries about coaching vacancies at clubs at Melbourne and Adelaide.
Lyon made clear his willingness to consider a lucrative deal to leave the Saints after last Saturday’s elimination final loss to Sydney.
Lyon told senior players that he would leave the Saints, but then appeared to have made a turnaround after an impassioned plea from superstar duo Nick Riewoldt and Lenny Hayes.
Harvey was sacked after a full review of Fremantle’s football operations.
It is known that leading players and even several former Dockers stalwarts were not supportive of Harvey in their reviews of a disastrous 2011 season.
The Dockers are expected to make an announcement of Harvey’s replacement as early as Friday.