Former Brisbane AFL assistant coach Wayne Brittain says Justin Leppitsch can only do so much with the talent at his disposal.
Brittain however admits a loss to Essendon this weekend would make the embattled Lions coach’s position untenable.
The Lions are reeling from their record 12th consecutive loss to the GWS Giants on Sunday, seen by a record-low Gabba crowd of just 10,195.
Leppitsch has just a 20 per cent winning record after 60 games in charge and the Lions will likely collect the wooden spoon this year if they can’t beat the suspension-ravaged Bombers at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
Brittain, who served under ex-Lions mentor Michael Voss, told SEN Breakfast with Ox on Monday that not even coaching great Norm Smith would fare much better with Brisbane’s young and inexperienced list.
But he warned that Leppitsch, who is contracted to the end of 2017, may lose his job if they can’t beat Essendon.
“If they got rolled by Essendon, you’d be in trouble,” Brittain said.
“Essendon are finding themselves hard to beat against both sides, so there’s a chance for that to happen.
“If they put in a similar type of effort to what they did (against GWS) – I know it sounds funny after they’ve been beaten by 79 points – but if they keep playing in that way, they’ll get better results as they go further on and the kids get a bit more footy under their belt.”
The trouble, Brittain believes, is that Leppitsch is struggling to deal with the pressure that comes with rebuilding a side.
Rumours of infighting and general dissatisfaction amongst players have persisted for the past 18 months and Leppitsch lashed out at the media on Saturday for publishing what he said were “lies” about captain Tom Rockliff.
“What you need when you’re a young coach and you’re coaching a side that you know is about five years away from being able to get going and be properly competitive again, you’ve got to absorb a hell of a lot of pressure,” Brittain said.
“And I think that’s very, very difficult for a first-time coach to be able to do.
“That’s the nature of the industry – if you’re not winning games, you’re getting beaten easily, you’re going to get under enormous pressure.”