AFL legend Garry Lyon has taken an explosive shot at the Gold Coast Suns after labelling the Hugh Greenwood debacle an "embarrassment on the footy club".
Greenwood was strategically cut by the Suns last week but was expected to put straight back on the club's list during the draft period.
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However, North Melbourne swooped to secure the 29-year-old midfielder on Monday, after capitalising on the Suns' risky move.
Kangaroos coach David Noble's wife Sarah immediately let the North Melbourne mentor know about Greenwood's shock delisting and potential availability, sparking a whirlwind chain of events that ultimately sealed his Gold Coast exit.
Speaking on SEN Breakfast, Lyon said it was an "unthinkable" move from the Suns to delist Greenwood, who has been one of the club's most consistent performers.
“How do you arrive on the fact that Hugh Greenwood of all the players on your list is the one that might get passed on? I know he’s had a knee injury, but Hugh Greenwood is everything the Gold Coast Suns aspire to be and never have been in their short period of existence,” he said.
“He is hard working, he is consistent, he is uncompromising, his standards don’t alter from week to week, he’s tough, he wins contested ball, he tackles, he plays his guts out every single time he takes the field and he’s the one player they think no one else is going to want to bid on?
“It is just unthinkable on every level. It’s an embarrassment on this footy club.”
Lyon said the Suns had paid a brutal price for trying to be too smart by delisting Greenwood, with every intention of picking him up again in the draft.
The Melbourne great says the Suns have not only lost an exceptional talent, but a natural leader.
“I watched him play at the MCG ... they beat Collingwood. His leadership was unbelievable and I’m thinking for all the other problems this football club has got at least they’ve got this bloke who looks to be a heart and soul player,” Lyon said.
“He is everything they aspire to be and they let him walk out the door. Not only did they let him walk out the door, they facilitated him walking out the door.
“Clearly they were trying to be too smart ... you don’t open the door to having the fabric of your club ripped in half. He’s a fabric player.”
Kangaroos coach Noble touched on Greenwood's qualities and said he could go straight into the North Melbourne leadership group, following his move south.
As Adelaide's football manager in 2015, Noble was a key person in bringing Greenwood to the AFL after his time playing college basketball.
The Roos mentor admitted it was only through the "sleuthing" skills of his wife that he became aware about Greenwood's situation, before making his move.
Wife alerted Roos coach to Hugh Greenwood availability
"I was about to jump on a plane to come back to Melbourne and my wife goes 'you better go and have a look on AFL.com, Hugh's been delisted'," Noble told SEN.
"One thing led to another and I reached out on Friday, we got our skates on over the weekend and we were able to secure him as a delisted free agent.
"It will be up to players (whether he is in the leadership group)... the players will have an input into that, the coaching staff will have an input.
"Regardless of whether you put him into the leadership group or not, he's still a leader.
Greenwood played 32 games for Gold Coast after moving from Adelaide at the end of 2019 - with 51 games for the Crows.
He injured his knee in July and missed the Suns' last six games of the 2021 campaign but is expected to be fit for the start of pre-season training.
Greenwood took to social media after his delisting last week, slamming critics for "clickbait" and said he would be on the Gold Coast in 2022.
But he had to back down on Monday, saying his original post was a "dreadful look".
"If I'm prepared to put myself out there then I've got to be prepared for everything that comes with it," he wrote on Twitter.
"However, from what I've now learnt and what I hope people can understand is that 24 hours can be a very long time in footy.
"I look forward to thanking the Suns in the coming days, but for now we are excited to see what North Melbourne has in store for our family."
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