Fremantle did extensive background research on Hogan and also had frank conversations with the forward about his issues before trading for him.
“At the end of the day, you make a decision and it comes through the board,” said Lyon, who has moved back to Melbourne and will be a commentator on Nine’s Footy Classified, for the AFL website and Triple M.
“So from the president through – when it’s player of that calibre and that significant and that level of noise – everyone’s in here. It’s not a coach decision – everyone’s in, from the top down.”
Asked if regrets were harboured about recruiting Hogan, who has had injuries in addition to off-field struggles with his health, Lyon said he couldn’t speak for others at Fremantle, adding: “I think when you say ‘you’ … but ultimately there’s a hierarchy at AFL clubs that people sign off on. So everyone’s in on it.”
Lyon said he had not spoken to Hogan since leaving the club. “No, no. I think when you leave a club … you come in, do everything you can, leave. You don’t want to hang around.
“Clearly you’ve got friendships. But Jesse was there for a year and I’m like everyone in AFL footy, we hope he gets well and see him again, because he’s, you know, a genetically talented AFL player. But I’ve got no information.”
But Lyon had caught up in Melbourne with another recruit and (now ex) Docker that struggled to get on the field in Harley Bennell, who has been listed by Melbourne. He said Bennell was sprinting in a way that he had never managed as a Docker.
Lyon said Bennell, who had a succession of calf injuries at Fremantle, was “going really well” in Melbourne, having had successful surgery to his calf.
“He’s excited. He’s sprinting. He’s sprinting at levels he never was able to achieve at Fremantle. Up on his toes sprinting,” Lyon said.
“Well there’s a lot of water to flow under the bridge and, you know, but really in his corner, hoping for him.”
Lyon said the external view of Bennell – who played only two games with the Dockers in four seasons after being sacked by the Gold Coast – was “ill-informed and fingernail-deep and what was being trotted out was that far from the truth”.
“No one trained harder than Harley, you know,” Lyon said. “And then when the calves [happened]– he just imploded.
“He was going to see an ex-partner on the Gold Coast, he was, you know, under the weather on a plane. The airline complimented how he handled himself.”
Wednesday Footy Classified will air on Wednesday, March 18, at 10pm on Nine and 9Now.
Jake Niall is a Walkley award-winning sports journalist and chief AFL writer for The Age.