Brisbane AFL great Jonathan Brown has described the Lions as dysfunctional and a club divided after Monday’s decision to axe Justin Leppitsch as senior coach.
Leppitsch was released from the final year of his contract after Brisbane slumped to a 17th-place finish with just three wins this season.
Brown, a triple-premiership teammate and good friend of Leppitsch’s, gave a scathing assessment of his old club as it plunged further into crisis.
“There is obviously a fair bit of distrust (at board level) and a fair bit of distrust in the football department as well,” Brown said on Fox Footy’s On The Couch on Monday night.
“So it’s a big operation (to fix) going forward.
“The football department has got problems there. They’re not united, the playing group is not on board with some of the off-field stuff, so it needs to be completely tidied up. It is dysfunctional, unfortunately, at the moment and that hurts me to say as an ex-player.
“I love the footy club and have good relations with a lot of people at that football club. I love what Leigh Matthews has done for the footy club in the past but unfortunately it looks like there needs to be a fair bit of work done.”
Brown said he hadn’t spoken to Leppitsch in the hours following his sacking but had sent him a text message and expects to catch up with him later this week.
Leppitsch didn’t attend Monday’s media conference at which chairman Bob Sharpless and chief executive Greg Swann announced the move.
His management company released a statement saying he would take a few days to reflect on the decision before making any public comment.
While disappointed at the state of the Lions, Brown admitted he wasn’t surprised to see the axe fall on his mate after three dismal seasons at the helm.
“I think he was in a bit of trouble … he presented to the board last week and it was a positive presentation but he was coming from a long back,” Brown said.
“This has probably been in the works for the last few weeks. Leppitsch presented really well and I think he had the support of Leigh Matthews but … the AFL recommendation was that they probably didn’t want Leppa to continue in that job.
“Ultimately though it was the board’s decision, which Leigh Matthews is a part of and unfortunately he got his marching orders one year early.”