Question marks remain over the future of Ross Lyon’s tenure at Fremantle, as speculation heats up over where the Dockers coach will be in 2020.
Lyon himself, who is contracted for next year, guaranteed that he would be at the helm at Freo in 2020, but a number of names within the footy industry remain unsure if that will be the case, with Victorian clubs Carlton – and his old club, St Kilda – constantly linked to the 52-year-old.
According to Fox Footy’s Tom Morris, the situation at Fremantle remains volatile, with the dynamic between some of the major names at the club a big talking point.
“Peter Bell is the interesting player in this. He’s come from the board, he’s the head of footy,” Morris told On the Couch on Monday night.
“Peter Bell and Ross Lyon get along very well, I’m told, but Steve Rosich is under significant pressure as the CEO.
“So how does this work? Does Steve Rosich think Peter Bell is going to take his job? Is Peter Bell being brought into the role to move along Ross Lyon?”
“I don’t think he’s going to be sacked, Ross Lyon, I don’t think he’s going to leave without the blessing of Fremantle. But this could easily become an amicable parting of ways, just like Brad Scott and North Melbourne.”
Former Fairfax chief AFL writer Caroline Wilson also believes that a split between Lyon and Fremantle isn’t out of the question.
“I think it’s a realistic possibility and I don’t think Fremantle would stand in his way,” Wilson said on 3AW Sportsday.
“If he went to them this year and said St Kilda has offered me the job, I think, they would say thanks for everything, it’s been great, sayonara.
“I believe that Carlton were looking at him as well.”
Fremantle begun the season comfortably, with a finals berth for the first time since 2015 looking likely at the halfway point of the season.
However, after losing four of their last five matches, including a 91-point demolition at the hands of rivals West Coast, many Dockers fans have grown disgruntled with Lyon at the head of the Perth side.
Herald Sun chief football writer Mark Robinson said he had “more than a gut feel” about Lyon leaving the Dockers.
“Something, to me, doesn’t sit quite right with what’s going on at Fremantle,” Robinson said on AFL 360.
“The want from the club’s not there. I’m not hearing them screaming from the rafters, ‘hey, everyone, shut up! Ross Lyon is here!’
“And then when Ross spoke and said, ‘hey, my record demands that I get … a contract extension’. He goes, ‘we’re in a rebuild. My form demands it’.”
Robinson believes that Lyon’s contract – with only a year remaining on it – could loom as a massive factor in any distinct possibility of Lyon leaving the Dockers, where he has been since the 2012 season.
Fremantle does not appear set to offer Lyon a contract extension prior to the 2020 season, and Robinson believes that an offer from a rival club could turn his head.
“This is where the growing vibe is coming from in my opinion,” Robinson said.
“Ross has got a year to go on his contract. Fremantle are not going to re-contract him before the start of next year. So Ross goes into next year, if he stays at Fremantle, with a year to go. Back himself in, Ross, no problem.
“Does a suitor come along, and that is Carlton or St Kilda, come along and say, Ross, we will give you five years at $900,000 to come home to Victoria.
“Ross sits there and goes I’m a father, I’m a husband, I’ve got kids to look after, I need security in my life. Does he take five by nine or does he take one by whatever he’s on over there? Are the Dockers pushing him towards the decision if a deal gets offered?”
“There may be no deal. Ross might go into next year, have a really poor year, and he might be out of a job.
“Or he could go in the next year, the Dockers continue the improvement, they finish in the finals and a new dynasty or run starts at the Dockers. But it’s really, really intriguing.
“I don’t think it’s on a cliff’s edge, but they’re playing near the cliff.”
Fremantle recorded a gritty one-point win over Sydney on the weekend, keeping their finals hopes alive while they sit one game outside the top eight.
They face fellow finals contenders the Western Bulldogs on Sunday afternoon at Marvel Stadium.