Brisbane Lions coach Justin Leppitsch has called for “more leadership” from his senior players in Saturday’s AFL Gabba clash with Adelaide.
Leppitsch’s frank thoughts on underperforming Daniel Rich made headlines this week after a fading Brisbane’s 72-point last round loss to Western Bulldogs.
But Leppitsch believed it wasn’t just midfielder Rich who needed to lift another gear against a Crows side expected to unleash Taylor Walker (hip).
Leppitsch has turned up the heat on his team’s leaders such as vice-captain Jed Adcock and Jack Redden, saying their guidance may avoid a repeat of last round’s shocking fadeout.
Asked what he expected from his leadership group, Leppitsch said: “Hopefully more leadership.
“It’s those moments in games where it is slipping away and you act, and get the ball back or cause a stoppage or get the ball going your way – those critical moments.
“You don’t spectate on the game. You become involved in it – that’s the challenge.
“When we are up and about and going we have players on board.
“We just have to find a way to turn that around when it is not.”
Still, it will take some effort to turn around a side that has lost its last four games – all to teams outside the top eight – by a combined tally of 184 points.
Leppitsch’s most pressing concern is avoiding another blowout like last round’s capitulation to the Bulldogs, where they conceded nine final term goals.
“The game against the Giants (a fortnight ago) where we came back and kicked the last three goals – those are the sorts of efforts that we want from the group,” Leppitsch said.
“We want to make sure we fight out games and we didn’t do that last week – we want to eradicate that from our game.
“You’ve got to keep your eyes up and keep competitive because at least you can walk off the ground then and have improved.”
Adelaide captain Walker on Saturday is expected to lead the seventh-placed Crows in their crunch game.
A percentage-improving victory will keep the Crows in sight of a top-eight finish.
Walker has carried hip bruising for more than a month and was substituted at three-quarter time in last round’s clash with Hawthorn with a badly corked thigh.
For second-last Brisbane, midfielder Dayne Beams (shoulder) will play despite being described as a “50-50” chance by Leppitsch.
Young gun James Aish returns from a broken jaw.