Ross Lyon hits back at claim he kicked an ‘own goal’ by not fighting to get Carlton coaching job and says he’s RELIEVED not to be in charge of Blues despite brilliant start to season
- Ross Lyon coached St Kilda and Fremantle to a combined four grand finals
- He was considered a front-runner to be the new Carlton coach in 2022
- Instead he walked away from the chance, which has been labelled an ‘own goal’
- But Lyon has hit back and said Carlton could still face tough times this year
Four-time AFL grand final coach Ross Lyon has admitted he is ‘relieved’ he didn’t land the Carlton coaching job this season and said ‘one swallow doesn’t make a summer’ while discussing the Blues’ impressive 2-0 start to the season.
Lyon, who steered both St Kilda and Fremantle to AFL deciders, infamously walked away from the opportunity to succeed David Teague at Carlton.
He said at the time he was not interested in going through a protracted selection process, telling Footy Classified: ‘I’ve had 13 years of auditions.’
After taking the Fremantle Dockers and St Kilda Saints to a combined four AFL grand finals, Lyon was a favourite to take the vacant coaching position at Carlton in 2021
The 55-year-old said he was content with his decision because there is no certainty that Carlton’s good form to start the season will continue.
‘I’m honestly relieved in a lot of ways. Deep down I was like, if it goes south…’ Lyon told Channel 9.
‘You’ve got to be mentally sharp and tough and ready for it.
‘I haven’t looked back once. I’m enjoying myself, I’m happy, and the environment I see in the AFL and the pressure coaches are under, maybe I was lucky.’
Even though Carlton has shot out of the blocks with wins against likely contenders Richmond and the Western Bulldogs, Lyon is not convinced the club can avoid hard times in 2022.
‘One swallow doesn’t make a summer,’ he said.
‘It’s two good wins, but they could’ve easily lost both, but I’m enjoying seeing what they stand for.’
On the surface, the decision to walk away from the selection process appears to have backfired on Lyon.
Former Brisbane Lions coach and player Michael Voss (pictured with Blues star Patrick Cripps) worked as an assistant at Port Adelaide before ultimately landing the Carlton gig
Former Brisbane Lions champion Michael Voss was ultimately installed as head coach and steered the resurgent Blues to two straight wins to open the 2022 AFL season.
Nine journalist Craig Hutchison said Lyon’s decision was an ‘own goal and a half’ on his podcast The Sounding Board.
‘I think it was an error of judgment on his behalf … You look at this team now, they’re 2-0, they look one of the best teams in the competition. The talent was already built, they were a relatively coachable next step. They were easily his best shot at the Premiership he covets,’ he said.
Lyon took Fremantle to two AFL grand finals but they could not get the job done. He says he is content to not be coaching at AFL level today.
However, speaking on Triple M at the weekend, Lyon walked back his previous comments and said he was willing to go through a ‘process’ for the Carlton job, but not against assistant coaches.
‘I’ll go through a process against Brad Scott, Clarko, that’s fair enough. But assistants? I was like, eh,’ he said.
Lyon also hit back at Hutchinson on Nine’s Footy Classified and said there was no process at all and that Hutchinson and co-host Damian Barrett knew it.
‘It’s a little bit mischievous because Craig understands that there wasn’t really a process, and I’ll just leave it at that,’ he said.