Ross Lyon forced to address St Kilda players after 'embarrassing' mishap

The Saints were left red-faced after audio from their coaches box was accidentally shared with AFL rivals.

Ross Lyon speaks to St Kilda players during a pre-season game.
Ross Lyon has addressed St Kilda players after audio from their coaches box during a pre-season game was accidentally made available to AFL rivals. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

St Kilda coach Ross Lyon has reported fronted players after audio from the coaches box during their pre-season games was inadvertently uploaded to a shared server accessible by the other 17 AFL teams. Lyon, set to begin his second stint as coach of the Saints when the season begins, is believed to have apologised to players over the reportedly colourful language.

Behind the goals vision from each match is uploaded to a shared server for use by all clubs, however audio from St Kilda's coaching box during their 35-point win over Essendon last week was included for an unknown reason. It's not known what was actually said, however Channel 9's Tony Jones said it was potentially a 'source of embarrassment' due to the 'quite frank assessment' of certain players.

'GROW UP': Caroline Wilson tears Alastair Clarkson to shreds over 'ridiculous' act

CLASSIC: Joel Selwood lifts the lid on moment that ruined AFL grand final secret

St Kilda's acting football boss David Mission issued a statement regarding the upload, confirming it had been a 'human error' and that Lyon had fronted players to discuss it. It was an odd note to end an otherwise positive pre-season victory on, given the Saints have battled a series of key injuries long before round one.

Speaking on SEN, club boss Simon Lethlean said the upload had been a simple error, and not the kind of thing that necessitated a full investigation, particularly considering the consequences had already been dealt with. A version of the same behind the goals footage without audio has since been uploaded.

"I don't think the IT guys knew the audio was on and being attached (to the vision)," Lethlean told SEN. "We haven't heard anything to suggest anyone has downloaded it. But Ross dealt with it with the playing group to let them know."

On Wednesday night, Jones described the language used by Lyon as 'fruity', largely characterised by his frankness. “Let’s just say the fear is the language was quite fruity, and the assessment of some of the players was quite frank to the point that to preempt any shock and embarrassment that might come when this audio is leaked ... Ross has actually spoken to the players one-on-one today, (to) those who might be let’s say a bit put out by his views on them.”

St Kilda quick to resolve leaked audio error

In the statement issued by Mission, the ordeal was described as a 'low risk' one for the club, with few concerns rivals may have gained an unintended insight into their season preparations.

“There is no certainty that this file has been accessed and downloaded by anybody, however, regardless of the low risk, we wanted to be on the front foot and proactive in our response," Mission's statement read. “Our focus is on creating a program with high integrity, open communication and care for our people.

“As a matter of course, we addressed this issue directly with our playing group. As part of our response, we also alerted the AFL and relevant key stakeholders.

“We feel that this matter has now been resolved and our focus remains on our preparations for the season ahead. The club has also taken the opportunity to review its broader processes to reduce the likelihood of this error occurring again.”

Ross Lyon and Robert Harvey.
The Saints, who have signed Ross Lyon and Robert Harvey for 2023, are hoping to make a return to the top eight. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

St Kilda's season starts on March 19 with an intriguing clash with Fremantle at Marvel Stadium. Lyon was axed as Dockers coach at the tail-end of 2019 and rejoined St Kilda in October for a second stint at the helm.

Lyon's return to Moorabbin was couched in controversy, with the Saints fiercely criticised for sacking former coach Brett Ratten just six month after handing him a multi-year extension. St Kilda missed the finals last season, despite holding a top four spot and an 8-3 record mid-way through the season.

with AAP

Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.