Skipper loyal to Harvey
Matthew Pavlich hopes he will be lifelong friends with sacked Fremantle coach Mark Harvey, but said he had to immediately give his loyalty to new man Ross Lyon.
After a week where the tension between Harvey and Lyon again flared, the Dockers skipper said he tried to make sense of the bombshell coaching switch last September by looking at it as a “simple business transaction”.
Pavlich said he only heard about the coup on the day Harvey was sacked and that the leadership group played no part in getting rid of him.
The six-time Doig medallist said it was too early to judge whether the move that shocked the football world was the right one.
“The proof’s going to be in the pudding, come the next four years of Ross’s contract,” Pavlich told The Sunday Times this week.
“He’s acutely aware of that and as captain I’m aware of that as well. The only thing left that I want to achieve is the ultimate team success.”
Pavlich said he had made a concerted effort to demonstrate his commitment to Lyon in an effort to ensure the players would remain focused on the job.
“We had to get into action straight away. When there’s that type of situation occurring, I think internally there needs to be a group of people really showing that ‘OK, this is what’s happened, let’s not talk about the past, let’s get into action and let’s worry about the future’,” he said.
“What happened was a shame and certainly a shock for everyone, but the club saw it as if you can in this sport a non-emotive business decision that they wanted to have transacted and they moved upon that.”
In separate interviews this week, Lyon and Harvey both confirmed they had no intention of calling each other to discuss Harvey’s axing and the Dockers’ covert poaching of Lyon to replace him.
It sets the scene for a much-hyped Round 3 home fixture against Brisbane, with Harvey now an assistant at the Lions. It means Lyon will open his tenure at Fremantle with an emotionally draining first month.
In Round 1, Lyon will face Grand Final nemesis Geelong, followed by the coaching duel with Harvey and a trip to Melbourne in Round 4 to face his former side St Kilda.
Pavlich said while he and Harvey were “different people”, they had an extremely good captain-coach relationship.
He believed Harvey still retained an affection for the Dockers fans and players and hoped they would remain lifelong friends.
“Those relationships in football probably more so than other aspects of life because of the hard work, the on-field mateship and the sacrifices that you make I think that sort of remains for a long time, and I can’t see why Mark and I won’t be exactly the same,” Pavlich said.