Former Sydney coach Paul Roos has warned Fremantle to be cautious with immediate expectations under new coach Ross Lyon, claiming it is likely to take at least two pre-seasons for him to implement his game plan.

Roos, one of Lyon’s closest confidants, also criticised those who attacked his former teammate and assistant coach’s integrity over the sacking of Mark Harvey.

The 2005 Sydney premiership coach said he spoke to Lyon at least weekly and considered his position at St Kilda had become untenable, hinting at key relationship breakdowns. Lyon’s snap decision to leave had been done to the letter of his contract.

Roos said Dockers players could expect to have to embrace a rigid game structure for next season.

“They’ll be getting someone with a game plan that he’s going to stick to,” Roos said.

“He’s very professional and while some coaches are a little bit wishy-washy, you’re not going to get that.

“You’re going to get a distinct style of play that won’t waver and a guy who leads your football club and is very much aware of his responsibilities to all aspects of the football club.

“You’ll get a guy with a real understanding of what he wants to do for that club.

“I think they’ve got a very good list from both a short-term and a medium-term if they can get healthy and can have some good seasons over the next two or three years.

“But it’s probably a two-year process and Essendon were a good example of that this year.”

Roos felt compassion for Harvey, who had been a long-time friend, but said it was difficult to compare the coaching styles of Harvey and Lyon.

Though Lyon said last week after he arrived in Perth he had never spoken to his St Kilda players about loyalty, Roos believed it was one of Lyon’s strongest traits.

“Rossy is a really loyal friend and a very loyal person,” Roos said.

“If you give him respect and loyalty in return, he’s an extremely loyal person and that’s the way I’ve always found him.

“I think the attack (on Lyon’s integrity) is laughable because he actually exercised a clause in his contract that was negotiated with his employer.

“I know exactly what’s happened at St Kilda and there’s no way known he could have continued at St Kilda.”

Former Fremantle defender Chris Tarrant, now preparing for Collingwood’s preliminary final against Hawthorn at the MCG on Friday night, said he had felt great sympathy for Harvey.

Tarrant’s career revival as a defender started under Harvey during his four-season stint with the Dockers.

“I was as shocked as anyone, I suppose, just knowing how many injuries they did have and how tough that would have been for the whole side,” Tarrant said.

“You do feel for Harvs, he’d just taken over when I first got there and he did do the hard yards cleaning out a lot of the older guys and a lot of the other guys who could have stayed.”

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