Former Brisbane coach Justin Leppitsch harbours no ill feelings toward the board that sacked him or the club captain he was widely reported to have a strained relationship with.
Leppitsch was released on Monday from the final year of his contract after Brisbane slumped to a 17th-placed finish with just three wins this year – leaving him with 14 win from 66 matches.
He told The Nine Network’s The Footy Show on Thursday night he was initially disappointed and angry with the board’s decision, but quickly accepted the club needed to go in a different direction.
Lions captain Tom Rockliff, who has tried unsuccessfully to negotiate a contract extension beyond next season, is by no means certain to continue with the Lions either.
Leppitsch played down a reported rift between him and the skipper and doesn’t believe Rockliff should be stood down or traded.
“If the the club feel Tom’s position as captain needs to be looked at (so be it) but I tell you what they haven’t got a Melbourne Cup field coming through as candidates to replace him,” Leppitsch said.
“That’s just the position where the club’s at.
“He has a great passion for the football club .”
Leppitsch said he had no issue with being notified of his sacking over the phone or with the players being informed via text message – not email – as had been widely reported.
“Obviously, it was disappointing early, but there’s a great realisation in this game that we’re all just passing parades,” he said.
“There’s been disappointment, there’s been levels of inevitability at times and there’s been other times I’ve felt disappointed that this process has happened, but it’s also part of the big picture of the footy club and the club is bigger than any individual.”
Leppitsch said he first felt his job was in grave danger about two to three weeks before the end of the season.
He admitted the Lions’ well-documented issues at board level had been a distraction at times, but added those matters had been identified and were being worked on.
“The most-important thing is that our football club has a united front going forward,” he said.
“I can’t deny that in the last month some things shifted as far as decision making goes, but I still believe that the club had to have a fresh start.
“They’re difficult decisions to make – who’s on the bus and who’s not.
“It doesn’t fall my way now and that’s fine. I worked very hard for the footy club and what I can hang my on is that that everything I did for the club to win its next premiership.”