Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Should he stay or should he go?

Ross Lyon, the Saints coach, has an interesting decision to make. On one hand he has the known; the St Kilda footy club. On the other he has the unknown; the Melbourne footy club. So what's best for him and what's best for St Kilda (anything is better than nothing for the Dees)?

If he choose to honour his existing contract which has a year to run he is staying within his comfort zone. He knows the team, the politics and generally the lay of the land. He should know that his team is on the way down. 2011 will ultimately be a fruitless season by a team clinging on. The list is old and frankly pretty damned average. The reason they have even got to a clinging on stage is because of Lyon and his coaching. Whilst I hate how the Saints play, and by extension the Saints, and I hate Lyon's tactics because they are boring, they have been effective.

The better players like Riewoldt, Hayes, Milne, Peake(!?), Fisher, are mostly aging or broken, or both. The ones that are supposed to be good like Kosi and Gilbert, aren't. And there are not enough McEvoy's in the side to give significant hope. The core of players moving forward are fine players and should be in their prime, but there isn't a KPP in Dal Santo, Goddard and Montagna.

Essentially this is a team that needs to shed the deadwood (Blake, Baker, Kosi, Jones, Schneider, Clarke, Dempster, McQualter, Polo etc) and refresh the list in a big way. They need to set up for their next assault, and that is a few years away. Riewoldt and Milne probably won't be around for it so they need to groom the next forwards and the rest, for that time.

Effectively Lyon has had his first dash as a coach of the Saints. He tried, did well, but ultimately failed. His tenure in this cycle is shorter than my regulation 7-8 years, because he picked up a mature team on the cusp, and not one that needed to be rebuilt.

Does he stick around for the challenge? That's the burning question.

From the Saints point of view there is only upside, if they are smart. Lyon is a good coach, no doubt about that, and IF given the mandate to start again and rebuild, then Lyon would be a good choice (just like MM at the Pies in 2004). If they are stupid and want him to try to get a flag next year, they are just idiots in denial. If Lyon leaves, that's not bad either. They get a new fresh coach with the same mandate and they may just play interesting footy for a change.

What awaits him at the Demons? A good young list that is ripe for a good coach with a hard edge, and one that right now is closer to a flag than the Saints. He will reap the rewards of Bailey's mandate and extend it, much the way Matthews did after Walls' stint at the Lions; not that I am suggesting 3 flags await the Dees or Lyon if he changes over, but the similarities in young lists brimming with talent are there.

His biggest issue at the Dee's is off field. From all reports they are a basketcase in administration. We're talking about a club that was set not to extend the contract of its CEO and the next day sacked its coach instead and kept the CEO. On top of that the perceived 'boys club' is very much something the has to be broken for the sake of the club.

For the benefit of football in general, I hope he leaves the Saints to take up the role at the Dees, because he'll develop the Dees well, and the Saints might just become interesting.


  1. Both clubs off field minefields but Melb's list has more future. Kilgore says jump ship!

  2. Well with a complete failure in a very winnable game against Sydney, I'm convinced that its for the best for both St Kilda and Lyon to part ways.

  3. Well there you go! Talk about a blind side. Off to the Dockers!!

    Crafty bugger getting signed up during the season at some point. And wow, Dees absolutely screwed over!