Rockliff to miss AFL season launch

Brisbane’s Tom Rockliff will miss the AFL season launch as he recovers from a hamstring problem.

Pearce Hanley will deputise for Rockliff at the annual captain’s day on Thursday morning.

Apart from the media opportunity for the captains at Etihad Stadium, club bosses will also meet with the AFL ahead of Thursday night’s official season launch.

Rockliff did not play any matches during the NAB Challenge and a back-related hamstring problem flared last week.

But the Lions star remains adamant he will be ready for their Easter Sunday season opener against West Coast in Perth.

He will miss the trip to Melbourne to train with the team.

Gold Coast’s Gary Ablett and Carlton’s Marc Murphy are other captains who have not played any pre-season matches, while Sydney co-captain Jarrad McVeigh is still recovering from knee surgery.

A key feature of the AFL’s meeting with top club officials will be an update on how the league plans to spend its record $2.5 billion broadcast rights deal.

The AFL wants to lock in a series of big expenditures this year, such as the next players’ collective bargaining agreement, and set up the game for the next generation.

Meanwhile, Richmond on Wednesday night became the latest club to extend their senior coach’s contract.

Damien Hardwick is now confirmed at Punt Rd until the end of the 2018 season.

The announcement came a day after Collingwood locked in Nathan Buckley until the end of 2017.

Hawthorn have all but re-signed Alastair Clarkson until the end of 2019.

That leaves Carlton’s Brendon Bolton as the only coach not signed beyond this season – but he is on the club staff, rather than a contract.

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