A host of AFL greats have thrown their support behind Ross Lyon as a standout option for the vacant Essendon senior coaching job.
The Bombers sacked Ben Rutten this month with a year to run on his contract, with new president David Barham declaring the club is now after “an experienced coach” for the role.
Lyon, who coached 305 games across stints at St Kilda and Fremantle, indicated this week he would at least take a call from Barham.
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Dual North Melbourne premiership player David King said Lyon “100 per cent” would work at Essendon.
“He’s a top-liner, he’s a star. Everyone says he hasn’t won a flag, he hasn’t done this, how many grand finals do you need to go to endorse your CV? I think he’s challenged players to get the best out of themselves, he’s set really hard and fast standards that he then hands onto the leadership group to maintain,” King said on SEN.
“He’s not the dictator. He basically allows the leaders to lead and then just puts this game plan (in). Sure, it’s defensive, it always has been, but when St Kilda had the capabilities to be a high-scoring team … they were scoring heavily right throughout those (2008, 2009, 2010) seasons.
“Maybe they clamped up in the finals series, absolutely they probably did, but I think one of those years they were averaging 100 points right up until the last fortnight of the home and away season.
“He can score. If he wants to set the game up to score, he’ll do that. I don’t understand the negativity around Ross and I think Essendon need Ross right now more than any other person.”
Lyon has coached four grand final sides, bringing both St Kilda and Fremantle to the final game of the season only to fall short at the final hurdle.
He was in the mix for Carlton’s senior coaching job last year, but ultimately withdrew from contention, opting not to be involved in an exhaustive process.
Port Adelaide great Kane Cornes said Lyon could forgo such a process at Essendon, so long as both parties understood each other.
“I’d love to see Ross get the job there, I’d have no issue with that. I’d be comfortable with a similar Alastair Clarkson process where it’s not an official sit down and have a look a power point presentation, but it’s lengthy chats about your footy philosophy, where you see the list, where you see the club,” he said on SEN.
“You want some sort of process … you’d want to know exactly where his head is at, how much footy has he watched in the last two years, where does he see the list, what are his concerns.”
One of Lyon’s star pupils at St Kilda, Brendon Goddard, spoke glowingly of his former coach.
“His focus on culture, and changing culture and creating an elite environment that gives the players the best opportunity to get the best out of themselves, is his strength,” he told Nine.
“It’s open and honest and brutal at times, but creating winning cultures is hard.
“The importance he places on the defensive aspects of the game will teach them things they have never learned or held in such high regard.”