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BARRETT: Four coaches gone after Lyon's fall. Could more follow?

Ross has his say as Freo looks for 'clean air', plus Lewis calls it quits The Footy Feed Team with all the latest news

NOT LONG after Aaron Sandilands hoisted Hayden Ballantyne onto his shoulders for their well-deserved and emotional goodbyes to grand AFL careers on Saturday night at Optus Stadium, the decision was made to call directors of the Fremantle Football Club to a meeting the next day. 

The 32-point loss to Essendon meant the Dockers would miss a fourth consecutive finals series, and as the board members were to determine at their Sunday meeting, coach Ross Lyon's contract needed to be torn up

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When that decision was relayed to Lyon on Tuesday morning, Lyon was not shocked. He had been made aware in the past two months that failure to make finals was going to leave him personally vulnerable.

Dockers president Dale Alcock faces the media on Tuesday. Picture: Getty Images

Lyon always did things his way in 13 seasons as an AFL coach, and that trait has both contributed to his great success as a coach at two clubs (three Grand Finals in 2009 and 2010 at St Kilda, and another GF in 2013 in his second year at Fremantle) as well as creating the public image and support staff morale problems that Dockers president Dale Alcock ultimately acted on. 

The exit of the two-time best-and-fairest winner Lachie Neale, who was contracted for 2019, at the end of last season was a bad look for Lyon, and a situation which played against him as board members went about analysing their coach this year. 

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That Bradley Hill wants out this year, despite it being largely for personal reasons, was another problem for Lyon, as was his refusal to commit to anything but a dour, and in the eyes of an increasingly frustrated supporter group, boring game style. 


The three other AFL coaches who had jobs taken from them this year all sat next to people who sacked them at their exit press conferences - Brad Scott next to Ben Buckley, Brendon Bolton alongside Mark LoGiudice and Alan Richardson next to Matt Finnis. 

Not Lyon. While Alcock spoke at the Dockers' headquarters, he chose to address media an hour later at a suburban footy oval.

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The Fremantle board's decision to make a fresh start also saw CEO Steve Rosich compelled to reach a mutual decision to leave, as he had been unwavering in his support of Lyon.

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North Melbourne sacked Scott at round 10, Carlton followed a round later with Bolton's ousting, and St Kilda exited Alan Richardson after round 17. 

Four of the 18 have gone, and with the final weekend of the 2019 home and away season still to come, another four remain anchored in varying degrees of high-end pressure.

Two of those coaches have actually qualified for the finals, but John Worsfold and Leon Cameron cannot afford any more of the type of dreadful losses they have both experienced in the past three weeks. 

Before the win against the Dockers last Saturday, Worfold's Essendon had lost by a combined 163 points to Port Adelaide and Western Bulldogs, and Cameron's GWS has not scored a goal after half-time in its past two matches, against Hawthorn and the Bulldogs. 

Then there's the always volatile backdrop to Ken Hinkley's tenure beneath David Koch's chairmanship at Port Adelaide, and the anticipated player cull and exit under Don Pyke's coaching at Adelaide. 

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Not since 2011 has there been as much senior coach movement. 

That was the year Lyon moved from St Kilda to Fremantle, and Mick Malthouse (pre-arranged handover to Nathan Buckley at the Magpies), Rodney Eade (Bulldogs), Neil Craig (Crows), Dean Bailey (Demons) and Mark Harvey (Dockers) also finished up.