Sydney assistant Don Pyke has refused to rule out joining the race for the vacant Essendon coaching role, less than two weeks after Ben Rutten was sacked.
The former Adelaide coach, who has been at the Swans since the end of 2020, was asked flat out on Friday if he was in the running to replace Rutten for 2023 and beyond.
But Pyke only paused and called it “unlikely”.
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“I’d say it’s unlikely at this point,” he said on 3AW.
“I’ve enjoyed getting over and working with John (Swans’ coach Longmire) and this playing group.
“We are looking forward to working with the group in the next period of time which is exciting.”
When pushed further by journalist Mark Robinson to expand on what “unlikely” meant, again Pyke failed to give a firm yes or no.
“It’s an unlikely,” he said.
“I don’t rule anything out.
“Obviously it depends on the opportunity that presents, but I’m enjoying my time with Sydney.”
Robinson said given Pyke’s response, he would “never say never” if the former Crows coach put his hand up for the Essendon job.
Matthew Lloyd said he expected Pyke to be “open to talking” with the Bombers.
“Don maybe wanted to stay in Sydney, and maybe his time as senior coach is done,” he said on 3AW.
“But it seems like he’d be open. The first time you (to Robinson) asked it, there was a pause.”
Pyke is reportedly one of the coaches Essendon would be keen to speak with, after new president Dave Barham said the club was looking for an “experienced” replacement for Rutten.
Former Fremantle and St Kilda mentor Ross Lyon is reportedly the “players’ pick”, while a host of names including James Hird, Mark McVeigh and Leon Cameron are also said to be in the mix.
Pyke coached the Crows for four seasons, leading Adelaide to a semi final in 2016 and their first grand final since 1998 in 2017.
But he was at the club for the infamous 2018 pre-season which once again returned to the headlines this year on the back of Eddie Betts’ autobiography that includes shocking claims of mental abuse.
After leaving the Crows at the end of 2019, Pyke has been working as an assistant at the Swans – in a role he finds rewarding.
“The part I enjoy about the game is working with the young guys,” he said on 3AW.
“The opportunity when it presented in 2020 when I spoke to John abut the players they had at Sydney … was exciting
“There are so many guys on a journey and it’s great to be there helping them.”
Former Crow, and a vocal critic of the infamous pre-season camp, Josh Jenkins said he wanted to see Ross Lyon commit to entering the Bombers coaching race if he was to be considered.
“I don’t know what to make of the Ross Lyon situation,” he said on SEN.
“You’re either in or you’re out. Put yourself in and say I want to coach this team or don’t do it – don’t be involved.
“You can’t give someone a job who doesn’t go through the whole process.”