Brisbane forward Josh Walker has pleaded for understanding from the battling AFL club’s supporters after the Lions were booed by their own fans at the weekend.
The Lions suffered their ninth consecutive loss in a 49-point defeat to West Coast at the Gabba on Saturday – and the near record-low crowd of 12,777, understandably tired of seeing their side’s slow slide into AFL irrelevance, let loose their frustrations by jeering players for their slow and timid ball movement.
Among those targeted was teenage draftee Josh Schache, who at one point held up the ball on centre wing because he had no teammates available to kick to.
Walker says Schache was only guilty of following the team’s gameplan, which instructs players to hold onto the ball until the correct option presents itself.
“It’s not ideal – obviously you’d love the support of your home crowd,” said Walker, who kicked four goals in the defeat.
“Personally I’ve probably got other things to worry about (on the field), I’m not too worried about what the crowd’s doing at the time, but I’d hope the fans can get behind us.”
After two weeks of soul-searching at the Gabba, in which coach Justin Leppitsch’s job came under fresh scrutiny before the blowtorch turned on the team’s leadership group for not doing enough, Walker maintains the Lions are heading in the right direction.
“I think the base is there,” he said.
“I kind of get the feeling the mood’s worse outside the club than it is in – we’re copping a bit in the media but internally the guys are still sticking together pretty well.”
Brisbane takes on Richmond at the MCG on Saturday and will wear a Fitzroy-inspired commemorative guernsey to mark the 100-year anniversary of the club’s 1969 VFL premiership.