Lyon prepared to answer Collingwood’s call

Ross Lyon has refused to close the door on returning to AFL coaching circles, admitting he will take a call from Collingwood if it comes in the wake of Nathan Buckley’s exit.

Buckley’s 10-year tenure as Magpies coach will come to an end next Monday after Collingwood’s Queen’s Birthday clash against Melbourne after he announced his decision to resign on Wednesday morning.

While Robert Harvey will take over as the interim coach, Lyon and Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson are considered to be the two favourites to be Buckley’s long-term replacement.

Lyon has not coached since being sacked by Fremantle midway through the 2019 season, having moved into various media roles since.

When questioned over his response if Collingwood picked up the phone and offered him the job, Lyon was not prepared to openly campaign for it, but said he would listen.

“They are one of the biggest clubs in the land, incredible tradition,” he told Nine’s Footy Classified.

“If someone rang me from Collingwood and said, ‘Can we talk to you?’, of course I would sit down and have a discussion. I can’t give you a flippant answer here.”

While Lyon has coached a Victorian club before in St Kilda, he expressed reservations about coaching one of the biggest clubs in the state.

“For me, it’s such a big position,” he said. “Nathan Buckley is a revered figure, we saw how he handled it, and he still got chewed up and spat out.”

“It’s not a simple, flippant, ‘Yeah, I’m interested’, because they are big jobs and they need someone that’s unconditional and committed. It needs serious consideration, there’s a lot of variables.

“They are a big, powerful club, but the spotlight is squarely on you. There’s nowhere to hide in this town, you need to be eyes wide open and ready and prepared.”

Lyon is also expected to be courted by Carlton, if it relieves current senior coach David Teague of his duties, but refused to answer whether he’d take the Blues job due to Teague still being in the role.

The 54-year-old admitted that he had even fielded calls from Adelaide and North Melbourne after he had been sacked by Fremantle, but said he wasn’t “in the frame of mind” at the time to take up either job.

Buckley’s exit comes on the heels of Eddie McGuire’s exit after a 23-year run as club president in what has turned into a season of upheaval for Collingwood.

Despite no longer being in charge at Collingwood, McGuire left no stone unturned when pitching the club to Lyon.

“I’d say to you this, Ross: you come to a club that reveres coaches, there’s been two in 23 years,” McGuire told Footy Classified.

“You get the best facilities in the caper and after the last game this year, another $15 million worth is going into rebuilding the facilities for health and everything else.

“You’ve got a club that has got a fantastic women’s program. You’ve got a club that looked at itself within and came good with the Do Better Report.

“Most of the problems that we thought might’ve been there have been addressed because people wanted to clear the slate before they actually finish for the next person.

“I know what that club is like, it’s a great club. You play the big games, 14 games at the MCG and you don’t have to worry about your cheque arriving, it turns up.”

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