How chats with ‘Essendon people’ turned Lyon off

Ross Lyon has opened up on conversations with “Essendon people” that ultimately dissuaded him from being involved in the club’s coaching process.

Lyon was touted as the leading contender to assume the vacant senior coaching position at the club, but rejected an offer to be involved in the race to be the Bombers’ next coach after just 90 minutes of consideration.

After initially indicating that the “vibe” was off, Lyon was grilled by Essendon club legend Matthew Lloyd on exactly what led to that being the case, and he expanded in telling fashion.

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Lyon said conversations he’d had with people who had once been involved with Essendon had shone a light on how coaches who arrived at the club without previous ties were often hastily sacked, as Ben Rutten was last month.

“They’re still going through a lot there and a fair bit came to me from Essendon people that had been in really strong positions and explained the club and the challenges of the club, and I think they’re still going through that ,” he told Nine’s Footy Classified.

“I love what they’re doing, I think the purge is necessary. But if you look at their history, anyone from the outside, and this is what’s got to change in my view, Matthew Knights from the outside didn’t work, John Worsfold, even when they made finals there were noises about John, and then Rutten.

“It’s like an organ transplant, after two years you get rejected. I think they’ve got to get their head around outsiders coming through.

“That would be something that was put to me, and when it’s put to you, I think that’s a reasonable assessment.”

Lyon revealed that one of the people he’d spoken to about the Essendon job was 1985 premiership forward Tony Elshaug, who played 65 games for the club between 1984 and 1987.

Despite rejecting advances from both Essendon and Carlton in the last 12 months, Lyon isn’t prepared to shut the door entirely on a return to AFL coaching circles at some stage.

Jordan Lewis, who is one of six people on Essendon’s coaching subcommittee, admitted he was disappointed Lyon pulled out.

“Any time you have the opportunity to elect a new coach, you want every possible candidate to put their hand up and want to be a part of it and potentially be successful in that period,” he told Fox Footy’s AFL 360.

“He’s clearly been a good coach for a long time, one that’s sitting out there and you just don’t know whether he wants to come back, well you do know that he doesn’t want to come back at the moment.

“So yeah, (I’m) a little bit diappointed, but then it’s like, ‘If you’re out, you’re out, let’s move on’. It’s not the end of the world.”

The veteran coach’s rejection leaves Essendon with a list of targets that is devoid of starpower.

According to The Age’s Caroline Wilson, the Western Bulldogs have shut down rumors that Luke Beveridge could be head-hunted by the Bombers, with the club optimistic that it will extend it’s relationship with the 2016 premiership coach beyond the expiry of his contract at the end of 2023.

There are conflicting reports on former North Melbourne coach Brad Scott, who is currently in a senior role at the AFL.

The Age’s Sam McClure reported that Scott was out of the running to be Essendon’s coach, but Wilson expects the 46-year-old to be approached for the role.

“I’m not convinced that Brad Scott is completely out of the running,” she told Footy Classified.

“I would not be surprised if Essendon had another crack at Brad Scott. That would be my understanding. People who know Brad and are close to Brad … are adamant that he will coach again.

McClure expects to form GWS Giants coach Leon Cameron to be Essendon’s “next phone call” after being snubbed by Lyon, with Adem Yze, current Bombers assistant Daniel Giansiracusa, James Hird and Jaymie Graham named as the other contenders.

Lloyd threw up former Adelaide Crows coach and current Sydney Swans assistant Don Pyke as another name his beloved club could target.

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“He’s gone through a lot with what’s happened with the Adelaide Crows, but he can genuinely coach,” he told Footy Classified.

“He’s another phone call that I think could be made, and add that name to the list if he wants it.”

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