‘He’ll cop absolute heaps’
Etihad Stadium is confident its security staff will be prepared for the barrage of abuse that is expected to come from angry Saints fans when new Fremantle coach Ross Lyon makes an appearance on the field.
Lyon will coach against his former club for the first time on Friday night and many St Kilda supporters remain furious at the way he walked out on the club.
“We don’t go into detail about our level of security or police numbers at events,” Etihad Stadium spokesman Bill Lane told AFL.com.au on Thursday.
“However, in this instance we are confident that the patrons who attend the game will behave in an appropriate manner.”
Bill Cobb is one of the most senior members of the St Kilda cheer squad; he’s been a part of it for 44 years.
“He’ll cop absolute heaps,” Cobb said on Thursday.
“(As) you would expect, there’s a lot of angry St Kilda supporters out there.
“I would hope there’d be no physical (attacks), because that’s not part of our game, verbally is part of our game.
“Everyone’s been waiting for this game since the draw came out I think, I know I have.”
AFL football operations manager Adrian Anderson conceded Lyon would be bracing himself.
“Ross is a big boy, I’m sure he’s aware that there’ll be elements that might give him a hard time,” Anderson said.
“I’m sure it’s something that our ground operations staff will be on top of if they think there is an issue there. There’s plenty of security staff to assist.”
Fremantle trained in Melbourne on Thursday, ahead of the blockbuster clash.
Lyon’s return in opposition colours puts his departure squarely back in the minds of Saints supporters.
“He’s entitled to do what he wanted to do but not the way he done it. It was all behind the scenes while we were playing finals,” Cobb said.
Even before Lyon’s defection, a modern rivalry had been well established between the Saints and Freo.
The two teams were both at the centre of the famous ‘silent siren saga’ and were also involved in the match which lead to the ‘whispers in the sky’ scandal.
On Friday night another chapter will be written in that rivalry.