Hardwick urges patience for Lions in AFL

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick has urged patience for Brisbane counterpart Justin Leppitsch as the Lions’ AFL crisis continues.

Leppitsch expressed frustration when asked about his coaching future after Saturday night’s 80-point loss to Fremantle at home.

The coach said the media should ask those who will decide on his fate and not him.

Brisbane’s ongoing poor form means the pressure is mounting on Leppitsch, who worked as an assistant coach under Hardwick at Richmond before taking over as Lions coach in 2014.

“What people have to realise is he just needs time,” Hardwick said on Sunday.

“They’re incredibly young and they have some stars in the making there.

“The one thing that coaches haven’t got, for whatever reason, is time.

“You look at their list and they have some wonderful young talent … everyone just needs to calm down a fraction.”

Also on Sunday, Brisbane football director Leigh Matthews again backed Justin Leppitsch.

“I’ve been saying it all day, every day since about last Wednesday and so has (chief executive) Greg Swann,” Matthews told Channel Seven.

“He’s contracted to the end of next year, so that is the intention, for that to be completed.”

And Matthews said there were no plans for a special club meeting in the wake of Saturday night’s disaster.

“Nothing like that is in the wings, no,” he said.

The three-time Lions premiership coach said while Leppitsch is under pressure, the issues at the club went deep.

“When things are going wrong, you have to examine what’s wrong and you have to examine the role of the senior coach – clearly that’s what has to happen in football in general,” Matthews said.

“But there are a lot of things that are really not right about the Lions’ operation – things that make (them) a good footy team.

“So we have to work on getting them done and then make sure the coach has the right resources to work with.

“No coach can coach well if you have poor resources, a poor playing group.”

The Lions have only won one game this season and are now on an eight-game losing streak.

“It’s really demoralising to get a big loss at home against a team that’s in your part of the ladder,” Matthews said of their latest setback.

“That’s what the Lions suffered last night.”

Matthews said Leppitsch would be doing everything possible to turn the Lions’ form around, but it cannot be up to him alone.

“It’s very difficult when your team’s not performing,” Matthews said.

“I’m sure Justin is doing plenty of self-analysis, as he should.

“But again, he didn’t make any skill errors yesterday, as they often say.”

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