Struggling Lions will get help: AFL

The AFL will consider an expected request from Brisbane for a priority draft pick, but chief executive Gillon McLachlan has ruled out reinstating salary cap concessions for the embattled club.

The Lions have suffered through a miserable year on and off the field, with coach Justin Leppitsch lamenting after their 138-point smashing by Adelaide that Brisbane have been “given nothing as a footy club” by the AFL.

McLachlan says the AFL is committed to working with Brisbane, pointing out it has already made a significant financial investment in the struggling club.

The league gave expansion clubs Gold Coast and Greater Western Sydney salary cap relief to help them through their infancy but said all clubs would operate on a level playing field in terms of the cap from 2017.

“I think Justin was probably talking about the additional salary cap, the concessions,” McLachlan said of the coach’s remarks.

“I can be clear on that – everyone in 2017 will be playing with the same salary cap. We’ve worked hard over the past two or three years to take the swings and roundabouts and the advantages out of our game, so let’s be clear about that.

“But I think with football clubs, like small or large businesses, success relies on having the right people in the right slots and having a good culture.

“We’ll work with the Lions to help them have a great group of people to lead this club forward.”

Brisbane and Sydney have previously enjoyed salary cap relief, which was ultimately removed after a push by several Victorian clubs, notably Collingwood.

The Lions have announced a far-reaching review into the whole club’s operations at season’s end, with Leppitsch considered unlikely to continue in his role despite being contracted for 2017.

Leppitsch guided his side to 15th in 2014 (his first season in charge) and 17th last year, with the Lions languishing in 17th spot after round 20 this season after only two wins.

The Lions’ request for a priority pick in 2015 was denied, and McLachlan said he hadn’t yet looked at the merits of their case this year.

The matter will be decided at the discretion of the AFL Commission, who have yet to grant a priority pick request since the rules were changed in 2012.

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