Ross Lyon has provided more details on the situation surrounding Tim Membrey after he was a late withdrawal from St Kilda's AFL finals clash with GWS last Saturday. Membrey was removed from the Saints' line-up just a few hours before first bounce because of what the club referred to as a "personal health matter".
The Saints went on to lose 15.11 (101) to 11.11 (77), ending their season in the first week of the finals after such a promising start to the season. Speaking on Fox Footy on Monday night, St Kilda coach Lyon said he received a call from the club doctor around 8am on Saturday morning.
The coach detailed the process of informing his players what was happening and how they addressed the "delicate situation". “I got a call at quarter past eight in the morning from the club doctor...And then I made a call to our GM (of footy) and then our CEO – and understood things fully,” Lyon said. “Then it was ‘we’ll bring in (Anthony) Caminiti outside the 26, we need special consideration’ – and then you’re flagging (it with the) AFL, Giants – we went that path.
"In hindsight, maybe we would have played (Dougal) Howard, (Zaine) Cordy forward just to be able to contain all information and protect the day, our players. But because we didn’t do that, once there’s an oil spill, media release, communique.
“And then there’s a lot of chatter with your group. So I made the decision when everyone arrives at 1.30, in (for a meeting). Shared what I could – because we always do – and then: ‘Anyone got any questions that we can answer?’ And then if anyone doesn’t feel they’re up to the challenge, there’s an emergency Ryan Byrnes ready to go, because there’s some people close to the situation. Tried to just get rid of legitimate conversations that would have occurred otherwise.
“One player said today ‘it’s just a bit confusing just trying to figure it out’, but that was the situation we’re in. So unique, no rule book, but just try and be as honest and get the ability to reset.
“You can’t quantify what effect (it had)…It was not ideal, but it was certainly no excuse. Some of those closest to Tim felt it didn’t affect them, like Seb Ross. We had the tools in the palette to pull out, but we didn’t apply them how we should have.”
Tim Membrey's wife had informed other players' partners
Leading journalist Caroline Wilson revealed how Membrey's wife Emily had contacted some of the other players' wives to inform them what was going on, meaning some players knew before they got to the ground but others didn't. “Tim Membrey - and we wish him all the best - is under the care of the AFL mental health umbrella,” she said on Channel 9. “It was a terrible blow to receive on Saturday morning.”
"Membrey’s wife had contacted partners of other players. Some players got to the ground knowing, but not knowing really how bad it was.
“Ross Lyon took the decision to address the players at their exit interviews today. Some players said it threw them a bit. I don’t think that they would have won the game, but it affected some players who were in shock.”
Lyon added: “Our support for Tim and Emily is unwavering and the AFL has leant in and buying in." St Kilda released a brief statement addressing the matter at about 10.30am on Saturday.
"Membrey is currently receiving appropriate care and treatment due to a personal health matter," the statement said. "Tim's health and wellbeing is our primary concern and the club asks that Tim and the Membrey family's privacy is respected at this time."
Sign up to our newsletter and score the biggest sport stories of the week.