Lyon feud shatters Dockers’ bond
FREMANTLE forward Shane Kersten is set to quit the AFL club after a reported falling out with coach Ross Lyon.
Less than 24 hours after Lyon claimed his connection with the player group has never been stronger, a report emerged on the AFL website of a fallout between Kersten and the veteran coach.
Kersten hasn't played this year because of a serious foot injury but apparently fell out with Lyon during a confrontation in the wake of Lachie Neale's departure from the club.
The paperwork for Kersten's departure is likely to be finalised this week.
A Fox Sports report indicates that the Dockers had been so desperate to keep Neale that they considered cutting Kersten during the 2018 trade period, so they could try and use the extra cash to keep Neale at the club.
They also reported that Lyon was keen to move Kersten on due an alleged strained relationship with Neale, something both players have reportedly denied.
Kersten too has suffered through injuries and suffered two hot spots in his foot this year which much like now former teammate Harley Bennell's calves have ben an issue the medical staff have been unable to get on top of.
Kersten's Freo teammate Connor Blakely, who re-signed with the Dockers for a further three years on Wednesday, said he had no knowledge of the falling out.
"I literally read that article about 20 minutes ago and that was the first time that I had known about it, so I can't really comment on that issue," Blakely said.
He did say differences between individuals within a club were normal.
"There's so many different personalities and so many dominant figures," Blakely said.
"So I think it's unrealistic to think everyone's going to get along with everyone. But we're all striving to the same common goal, which is winning a premiership."
Kersten played 29 games at Fremantle after arriving from Geelong at the end of 2016.
But his form up forward was so bad that Lyon eventually shifted Kersten to defence.
Lyon's position is under threat after five losses from the Dockers' past six AFL games, including Sunday's meek 47-point loss to the Western Bulldogs. Fremantle (8-10) must win their remaining four games if they are to make the finals, and they face a daunting task against Geelong at Optus Stadium on Saturday.
Lyon is contracted to Fremantle until the end of 2020 but questions have been raised as to whether he has lost the support of his players.
Michael Walters and Andrew Brayshaw have voiced their strong support for Lyon and the man himself is confident he has the backing of his group.
"I think it's never been stronger, the connection with the player group," Lyon told Channel 7 on Tuesday night.
"Our effort all year has been incredibly consistent, even though it's been a challenging last six weeks (with) our availability."
Blakely said Lyon had worked hard in recent years to improve his relationship with the players.
"He was very brutal and honest and very demanding when I first got to the club," he said.
"And as he's come along, he's almost become a better people's person. He's developed relationships a lot better.
"He's a lot closer to the players than when I first got to the club."