Ross Lyon brought relevancy to Fremantle as a club, according to former Docker Michael Barlow while fellow retired star Matthew Pavlich paid tribute to his “greatest coach”.
Pavlich, who played 353 games for Fremantle before retiring in 2016, described Lyon as an “intelligent tactician” who was “as loyal as the family dog” in a tribute posted online.
“He was a father figure to many young footballers,” Pavlich said.
“He also laid down the foundations of a team culture that any leader would be proud to call their own. He empowered his leaders.
“He drove high standards of excellence. And he got the best out of his players who were less talented than their opposition.”
Barlow, who played 126 games for the Dockers between 2010 and 2016, said he was “flat” when he found out Lyon had been sacked by his former club this morning.
“It wasn’t all rainbows and lollipops, there was some obvious challenging aspects of Ross’s tenure when he first got to Freo,” Barlow said on the Fox Footy Podcast.
“It has been a morning of reflection, but I am a bit sombre.
“I really didn’t know much about the players or the history of the club, or much about anything about Fremantle’s existence (when I arrived).
“Harvs (Mark Harvey) initially taking us to a finals campaign in 2010, but then Ross Lyon came in, and we had a sustained period of success there from 2012. We went to a semi-final, 2013 obviously went to a Grand Final. 2014 and ‘15, at various stages throughout the season we were premiership favourites.
“I really think Ross is the coach that’s brought relevance to the Fremantle Football Club.
“The legacy, I really think around that period, especially going to a Grand Final in 2013. It was like Fremantle had woken in terms of the whole region, the whole area.
“He can be proud of his legacy. The next person who comes in will be greatly indebted to what he has set up at Freo.”
Barlow said before the start of the season he thought Fremantle should have been a top eight side.
“I think ultimately that has what got him,” he said.
Pavlich agreed that Fremantle had underperformed.
“Constant skill errors and turnovers gave the opposition the ball too regularly,” he said.
“The Achilles heel of the team eventually snapped. And with it, Lyon’s tenure.”