Ask not for whom the axe swings.
Not in Fremantle, at least.
It swings for Dockers’ coach Ross Lyon, who leaves with not a roar, but a whimper as Fremantle is on another losing season, without even the hope of a break-even finish to the Toyota 2019 AFL Premiership competition.
Lyon still had a year remaining on his contract, but as anyone can tell, contracts mean nothing in a game where, to quote legendary gridiron coach Vince Lombardi, “Winning is not everything, it is the only thing.”
The Dockers are finals spectators for the fourth consecutive season, which in terms of coaching tenure is roughly equivalent to four decades.
Fremantle chief executive Steve Rosich also fell victim and the club intends to hold a presser to add a note of finality to the proceedings.
We would say things went south for the Dockers with five losses through six rounds during the middle of the 2019 AFL season, but that would find us guilty of northern hemisphere bias, so we will modify our statement and say that things went north for Fremantle.
In the balance that is modern Australian Rules football, Fremantle still had a pulse in the quest for finals as recently as two weeks ago, until consecutive losses to St. Kilda and Essendon extinguished that faint heartbeat of hope.
Lyon might have been his own worst enemy when he told those with the ears to listen, just last month, “I can guarantee you I’ll be around. My performance dictates we’ll be around. We’re a rebuilding team.”
The transfer window, to borrow from some other code, is wide open and many Dockers are rumoured to be interested in playing elsewhere next season.
More on topic regarding the value of AFL coaching contracts, Lyon is an example of turnabout being fair play, as when he came to Fremantle in September of 2011, he still had a year remaining on his deal with St. Kilda, where he had made the Saints holders of the best winning percentage of any St. Kilda coach.