Leppitsch latest AFL coach to sign

All AFL senior coaches on contracts will soon have terms that extend beyond the end of this season.

Brisbane announced at their Monday night season launch that Justin Leppitsch had signed a one-year extension that will take him to the end of next year.

Richmond are on the verge of announcing a two-year extension for Damien Hardwick and Collingwood should soon add one year to Nathan Buckley’s contract.

They are the last coaches due to come out of contract at the end of this season.

The only exception is new Carlton coach Brendon Bolton, who is on the club staff rather than holding a contract.

Lions football director Leigh Matthews said the club board and Leppitsch were aligned on Brisbane’s extensive rebuild.

“There has been a lot of change around the club and there was never any doubt as a board that we would continue with Justin,” Matthews said.

Ten players have re-signed – including vice-captains Dayne Zorko and Pearce Hanley – in the past six months with Daniel Rich and Josh Green soon to follow.

A dozen of Brisbane’s first choice 22 are now signed until 2018 and beyond.

“Our football club is on a journey and the hardest part of our journey is now done in many respects,” Leppitsch said.

“We have made a lot of changes over the past two years, but they have been changes for the better and we will see positive results in the years ahead.”

Leppitsch joins Hawthorn’s Alastair Clarkson, Fremantle’s Ross Lyon and Leon Cameron of GWS, who have secured contract extensions in the last few weeks.

While pressure is mounting at Richmond after three-straight elimination final losses, the Tigers appear confident that Hardwick should stay coach.

The deal could be announced before their blockbuster Easter Thursday season opener against Carlton.

There was already strong speculation that Richmond would stick with Hardwick.

The only conjecture was over whether the extension would be for one or two seasons and media reports on Monday said the Tigers would grant him the longer term.

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