The Rise and Fall of Ross Lyon: Inside the Career of an AFL Coaching Icon

Ross Lyon is a name that is familiar to every fan of Australian Football League (AFL). He is considered a coaching legend in the sport, having led two different clubs to grand finals. His journey in the AFL is a story of highs and lows, which makes it fascinating to analyze. In this blog post, we will explore the rise and fall of Ross Lyon, taking an in-depth look at his career trajectory.

1. Early Life and Career:
Ross Lyon’s love for football originated from his childhood. He was born in Melbourne in 1966 and grew up playing football with his friends. In 1986, he started his professional football career playing for Fitzroy. However, he only played five seasons due to injuries.

2. Coaching Debut:
Lyon transitioned to coaching after retirement. His first coaching role came in 1998 when he became an assistant coach at Richmond. He later had the same role at Sydney Swans and became an assistant coach to Paul Roos.

3. Success with St. Kilda:
Lyon’s success as a head coach started when he took over the reins of St Kilda Football Club. He led St. Kilda to three grand finals between 2009 and 2011, but unfortunately, they lost each one of them.

4. Move to Fremantle:
Ross Lyon then moved to Fremantle Dockers in 2012, where he transformed the team’s fortunes. In his first season, he took the team to a preliminary final, where they narrowly missed out on a grand final place. However, Lyon continued to propel the Dockers to greater heights, reaching the grand final in 2013.

5. Controversies:
Ross Lyon’s rise was not without some controversies. In 2015, he was involved in a sexual harassment case, which was later settled out of court. The incident led to the departure of key Fremantle players, which affected the team’s performance.

6. Decline and Departure from Dockers:
After a promising start to his career at Fremantle, the team’s performance started to decline. They finished 14th in 2015 and 16th in 2016. Following a disappointing 2019 season, Fremantle decided to let Lyon go.

7. Return to St. Kilda:
Ross Lyon made a comeback to St. Kilda in 2021 as a director of coaching. His return sparked a lot of excitement amongst the fans and players alike.


1. What is Ross Lyon’s coaching record in the AFL?
Ross Lyon has coached 305 games in the AFL, winning 169 and losing 134.

2. How many grand finals has Ross Lyon led his team to?
Ross Lyon has led his team to four grand finals, but unfortunately, he has not won any of them.

3. Was Ross Lyon involved in any controversies during his career in the AFL?
Yes, Ross Lyon was involved in a sexual harassment case in 2015, which was settled out of court.

4. Which team did Ross Lyon lead to a grand final in his first year as a head coach?
Ross Lyon led St. Kilda to a grand final in his first year as a head coach.

5. What was the main reason for Ross Lyon’s departure from Fremantle?
Fremantle’s disappointing performance in the 2019 season was the main reason for Ross Lyon’s departure.

6. What is Ross Lyon’s coaching philosophy?
Ross Lyon’s coaching philosophy revolves around defense, team cohesion, and strict adherence to game plans.

7. What is Ross Lyon’s current role in the AFL?
Ross Lyon is currently the director of coaching at St. Kilda Football Club.

Ross Lyon’s journey in the AFL is a testament to the fact that sports coaching is a tough job, where constant success cannot always be guaranteed. While his coaching career was full of highs and lows, his contribution to AFL cannot be denied. He remains a respected figure in the sport, and his legacy continues to inspire future generations of coaches.

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