As reports swirl about the end of Justin Leppitsch’s career, Paul Roos has endorsed the merits of a coaching succession plan at every AFL club.
Leppitsch signed a one-year contract extension in March but has come under immense pressure this year, with his side Brisbane winning just three games to sit 17th on the ladder.
Fairfax Media has reported Leppitsch and club powerbroker Leigh Matthews are both set to depart the Lions.
Melbourne mentor Roos was unwilling to talk about the Brisbane situation on Wednesday, noting “there shouldn’t be any discussion regarding that position because it’s not available”.
However the man who helped break Sydney’s 72-year premiership drought detailed the value of a clear succession plan.
They aren’t common in the league but the 53-year-old has been part of two.
Roos successfully helped John Longmire ready himself for the hot seat at Sydney, while he only agreed to join the Demons on the basis they would also recruit a successor.
“Obviously I’m a bit supporter of it,” Roos said, having noted earlier this year he wouldn’t coach a third club.
“As a general philosophy, I’m hugely supportive of senior coaches handing down and helping educate assistant coaches because it is a big gap between an assistant coach and a senior coach.
“It got bigger in my three years out of footy and it got bigger again over the last two and a half years.”
Three-time premiership coach Mick Malthouse isn’t interested in coaching Brisbane but believes they shouldn’t recruit a young coach.
“It’s vital that a club like (the Lions) should go experienced,” Malthouse told radio station SEN.
The Lions have struggled since their glory days under Matthews, who coached the side to three consecutive flags in 2001-03.
Former players Michael Voss and Leppitsch have failed to achieve consistency or cultural change as head coach.
Fairfax Media claims Leppitsch is “coming to the realisation he will not see out his contract”, while deputy chairman Matthews is set to resign.
“Obviously Leppa is contracted until the end of 2017 and I expect him to coach,” captain Tom Rockliff told radio station RSN927 on Wednesday.
“I can’t really speak for Leigh and what his movements are.”
Brisbane are dealing with many challenges, on and off the field.
The list includes a $13 million debt, dwindling crowds and substandard facilities at the Gabba that have prompted a so-far fruitless search for a new base.
On top of the losses stacking up, Rockliff’s relationship with senior figures has reportedly been an issue.
“There always seems to be rumours about me being at loggerheads with club leaders and the club but it couldn’t be any further from the truth,” he said.
Many pundits have been critical of the AFL for not offering some form of list concession, such as the re-introduction of a retention allowance given how much talent has left the club.
“We lost a lot of high draft picks, which is probably our own fault,” Rockliff said.
“They all left for different reasons.
“But if you’re a good organisation, a good club, you keep players like that.”