The Melbourne AFL media bubble is notorious for the pressure cooker atmosphere it thrusts players into, but those in the know understand that mentality isn’t limited to Victoria.
Media counterparts in WA and South Australia are just as ruthless - as newspaper the West Australian showed on Wednesday.
After the Fremantle Dockers made the surprising move to sack head coach Ross Lyon and chief executive Steve Rosich, the West Australian took a brutal shot at the team on Wednesday’s front page.
A season from hell has brought a dramatic end to the Ross Lyon era at Fremantle and we've got every angle covered. Also, why school is now out for bullying parents and China has a candid message for WA. All this and more inside The West Australian. pic.twitter.com/fJ3iuS0BDC— PerthNow (@perthnow) August 20, 2019
“Wanted: new coach,” their front page headline said.
“Required skills: teach players how to kick, handball, interact positively with other staff, stop good players from leaving club, inspire turnaround in membership.
“Please note: we just got rid of the CEO too.”
Fremantle endured a mixed bad of a season in 2019, which included signature wins over premiership frontrunners Geelong and Brisbane, but poor losses to the likes of the Gold Coast Suns and Carlton.
Dockers had ‘agenda’: Riewoldt
Former St Kilda champion Nick Riewoldt was heavily critical of the move to terminate Lyon’s contract, which had a year left to run.
Riewoldt, who was coached by Lyon for a number of years at the Saints, said he couldn’t understand why the Dockers had made the bold move.
"I think the facts would say that it's the wrong call, and (I say that) because I've been coached by him," Riewoldt told AFL 360.
"It's difficult from the outside to understand all the time whether someone's a good coach or not. But I know Ross Lyon's a great coach.
"When you look at the form this year, I don't think they've under-achieved. I think they've done pretty well.
"I don't understand (why he's been sacked). It feels like there's been an agenda over there this year."
Riewoldt predicts Lyon will seek a head coaching role elsewhere.
Fremantle great Matthew Pavlich said Lyon was the best coach he'd played under.
He described Lyon as an intelligent tactician and ruthless perfectionist, but also incredibly loyal and someone who possessed endless empathy.
Pavlich said Fremantle's struggles over the past four years during their rebuild meant it was hard for Lyon to survive.
"It's a brutal industry that we all work in, particularly at club land," Pavlich said on AFL 360.
"In the last four years of the re-build, he's gone from about a 70 per cent-winning record to about 33 per cent. It's that statistic he can no longer endure and the club has made an extremely bold call."