Former St Kilda skipper Nick Riewoldt says Fremantle’s decision to sack Ross Lyon is simply the wrong call, believing the veteran AFL coach has fallen victim to sinister agendas.
Lyon was sacked on Tuesday as Dockers coach despite having a year remaining on his contract.
Fremantle chief executive Steve Rosich was also shown the door in a ruthless double axing.
Riewoldt played under Lyon for five seasons at St Kilda, including in the 2009 and 2010 grand-final campaigns.
The two remain close friends.
Riewoldt didn’t agree with Fremantle’s reasoning to sack Lyon.
Last year, Fremantle lost nine games by 50 points or more. This year, the figure is just one, despite a long injury list that includes key players Jesse Hogan, Matt Taberner, Alex Pearce and Stephen Hill.
“I think the facts would say that it’s the wrong call, and (I say that) because I’ve been coached by him,” Riewoldt told AFL 360.
“It’s difficult from the outside to understand all the time whether someone’s a good coach or not. But I know Ross Lyon’s a great coach.
“When you look at the form this year, I don’t think they’ve under-achieved. I think they’ve done pretty well.
“I don’t understand (why he’s been sacked). It feels like there’s been an agenda over there this year.”
Riewoldt predicts Lyon will seek a head coaching role elsewhere.
Fremantle great Matthew Pavlich said Lyon was the best coach he’d played under.
He described Lyon as an intelligent tactician and ruthless perfectionist, but also incredibly loyal and someone who possessed endless empathy.
Pavlich said Fremantle’s struggles over the past four years during their rebuild meant it was hard for Lyon to survive.
“It’s a brutal industry that we all work in, particularly at club land,” Pavlich said on AFL 360.
“In the last four years of the re-build, he’s gone from about a 70 per cent-winning record to about 33 per cent. It’s that statistic he can no longer endure and the club has made an extremely bold call.”