Brisbane coach Justin Leppitsch says speculation over his future at the struggling AFL club is unfair and the result of him being an “easy target”.
The Lions head into Saturday’s clash with Fremantle at the Gabba with just one win for the season, a round four victory over local rivals Gold Coast.
Since then the Lions have lost seven straight, with the past five coming by margins of six goals or more.
It’s prompted questions over Leppitsch’s future given the Lions coach has only managed 12 wins from 55 matches since he took over at the end of 2013.
The former Lions defender though says he’s not feeling any more pressure than normal.
“I don’t see why I should to be perfectly honest. We’re the youngest team in the competition, we’ve got a long journey in front of us,” he said.
“Probably the pressure comes because I’m the inexperienced coach around the bottom. The guys I share the bottom part of the ladder with are all experienced, well-credentialled coaches and I’m not.
“I’m a pretty easy target, aren’t I?”
One of those coaches down the bottom with Leppitsch is Dockers’ boss Ross Lyon.
Last year’s minor premiers picked up their first win of the year last weekend against equally hapless Essendon.
Leppitsch says the Dockers rapid decline is – like his own club’s long rebuilding phase – just a part of life at an AFL club.
“When I was a player we used to beat up on the young Geelong team and four years later they were beating up on the old Brisbane team and everyone else,” Leppitsch said.
“Unless you want to live this cycle, you probably won’t get to the top, you’ll only ever stay around the middle.
“As a club we don’t want to stay around the middle, which is where we were when I took the job over – a middle class team.
“That’s the path we’re taking, no apologies for that.”
BRISBANE v FREMANTLE – Key match stats
* Fremantle has won the past eight matches between these clubs, holding the Lions to seven goals or less in each of the last five contests.
* Defeat for the Lions would condemn them to their worst start to a season since 1991 (1-11).
* Disappointing loss to Collingwood aside, the Lions haven’t been pushovers at home – defeating Gold Coast and giving good accounts against Sydney, North Melbourne and Hawthorn in their other matches at the Gabba in 2016.