No one’s laughing at ruthless Fremantle now
It was the day a one-time laughing stock of the AFL competition got dead-set nasty.
This is the same Fremantle that was once inept enough to give up both a draft pick and compensatory selection then used by Essendon to secure Scott Lucas and Matthew Lloyd.
The same Fremantle that traded Andrew McLeod to Adelaide so they could pick up a promising forward named Chris Groom.
The purple, green, red and white team that gave up selection two to Richmond (Brad Ottens) for Chris Bond and pick 21 (Clem Michael) in 1997.
And the very same club that had a so-called theme song based on The Song of the Volga Boatmen. You remember “Freo, Heave Ho, Way To Go”.
Well, after 17 years of drifting along, at times aimlessly and at one stage back in the mid-1990s playing a brand of football with water polo elements, Freo has announced that mediocre is no longer good enough.
They decided their 2007-2011coach in Mark Harvey wasn’t the best available and ruthlessly ended his reign in a political execution more akin to the corridors of Canberra.
They identified the best possible “available” coach as Ross Lyon and appointed him without one single leak getting out in a world of twitter, e-mail, texting and blogging.
So who are the executioners? Dockers’ president Steve Harris has never played an AFL game in his life, preferring rugby league as a kid, and until a decade ago was a West Coast supporter.
He made his name and money with a Perth advertising agency named The Brand Agency, a firm that implemented a successful 2002 campaign for the Dockers titled “Do You Have The Passion?”.
If Harris is devoid of any meaningful AFL background, the club’s CEO Steve Rosich makes up for it, given the past decade of his working life has been in the AFL.
Appointed Dockers’ CEO in 2008, he had previously been general manager of commercial operations at the club and before that business operations manager with West Coast Eagles.
Unlike potential Ross Lyon rival suitor Melbourne, Fremantle is in a very healthy financial situation that allowed it to terminate Harvey with a year to run on his contract.
By the time they pay that out and add Lyon’s yearly wage, $1.5 million will be spent on the senior coach in 2012.
For a team that has made the finals just three times in 17 years and appointed six coaches in that time-span, success is well overdue.
But if it takes ruthless actions to achieve it, then Freo is well on the way.