Bulldogs AFL revival inspires Lions coach

Under-fire Brisbane coach Justin Leppitsch says his players need look no further than Saturday’s AFL opponents to see how quickly fortunes can change.

The Lions head into the final home and away fixture of a dismal campaign hosting a Western Bulldogs team that is finals bound.

The Bulldogs fortunes are a far cry from the club’s situation in October last year when coach Brendan McCartney quit in the wake of then-captain Ryan Griffen demanding a trade to Greater Western Sydney citing concerns over McCartney.

Since then Griffen has left but new coach Luke Beveridge has lifted a young Bulldogs team into the eight and even still an outside chance at a top-four finish if results go their way this weekend.

With Leppitsch desperate to avoid a last-place finish, midfielder Jack Redden this week demanding a trade and rumours swirling around the Gabba about player discontent with both the coach and captain Tom Rockliff, the Lions mentor is using the Dogs’ revival as a message of hope to those whose belief may be wavering.

“What the Bulldogs have done is a really good show for us as a football club what you can do,” Leppitsch said.

“What we’re talking about now is very much an emotional part of the footy club but the facts are the facts.

“Our reserves have finished at the bottom. We’re currently at the bottom – we’d like to finish second bottom, that’d be a great goal for us – we’ve had a ridiculously high injury rate and we haven’t had our best players out. Our captain’s been interrupted all year. It’s been a really tough year for our boys.

“We also have to remember the facts of why we’ll get better next year as well. Having a fit list and add another two or three mature players, some good young players through the draft, we’ll get better again.

“That’s all part of the long term planning … it’s a simple message of stay the course and everything will be okay.”

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