Rockliff to stay with Lions: manager

Brisbane AFL skipper Tom Rockliff will almost certainly be at the Lions next year, according to his manager.

Speculation has been rife that the club would look to trade Rockliff after their disastrous season that cost coach Justin Leppitsch his job earlier this week.

But Stride Sports Management’s Tom Petroro told SEN on Saturday that he is 99 per cent certain that the 26-year-old will be at the embattled club next year.

“Tom’s preparing to be at the Brisbane Lions … he’s working on his program that he’s been given by them,” Petroro said.

“We’re not going to talk to any other clubs.

“The key people that I deal with (at the club) have all got good relationships with him and are all really comfortable in wanting him to be there.”

Petroro said reported divisions between Rockliff and Leppitsch and sections of the playing group were wide of the mark.

“Tommy and Leppa had a really good chat on Monday night (hours after he was sacked) … they had a really good relationship,” he said.

“I think that at any time captains will have challenging relationships with their coach because that’s part of their role.

“There are times where they’ll butt heads. I reckon there were a few weeks when Tom and Leppa haven’t agreed on things but I can tell you when it ended they had a really good relationship.”

Rockliff had been actively seeking to extend his current contract, that ends at the end of next season, but fuelled speculation of a possible move when he withdrew a contract offer mid-year.

“It’s been widely reported throughout the year that we had some troubles trying to re-contract Tom,” Petroro said.

“Leppa was calling me and telling me that I had to get (the deal) done because it was important for the footy club.

“The biggest issue was we never received a counter-offer so I was negotiating with myself and then I put another (offer) in and didn’t get one back.”

Petroro said he is comfortable with where Rockliff’s contract situation sits after conversations with Lions chief executive Greg Swann.

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