Brisbane Lions great Jonathan Brown is certain Justin Leppitsch will see out the season as coach of the struggling AFL club, even if they lose a likely wooden spoon decider against Essendon.
“Leigh Matthews is a sticker and they won’t do the same as what they did to Michael Voss that was sacked with three games to go in 2013,” Brown said on radio station Nova 100.
But whether his three-time former premiership teammate will be in charge in 2017 is another matter.
“That will be up to the board,” Brown said.
“Any time they are doing board reviews and the AFL is getting involved, you cannot guarantee the coach going forward.”
Leppitsch, who is contracted to the end of next season, is keeping a stoic front as pressure continues to mount on his shoulders.
The Lions have won just 12 out of 60 games under his coaching, with home crowds at record lows and their current losing streak the worst in club history.
But Leppitsch says they expect to beat the suspension-ravaged Bombers, the AFL’s only other one-win team in 2016, even if he was careful to play down the significance of what that might mean.
“Probably externally it does take the heat off for a week,” he told reporters.
“We know what our planning is based on and where it’s going. It’s been harder for the public to accept it more than the team itself … externally it’s been harder to sell the message.
“I understand that, for some reason, when the facts are sort of there that we are a young team.”
Leppitsch also denied Saturday’s match will decide who finishes last, pointing to Brisbane’s final-round win over the Western Bulldogs last year which saw the spoon fall to Carlton.
“Last year we were in this position in the last game of the year and somehow didn’t get the wooden spoon,” he said.
“Everyone basically gifted it to us, it was in the mail on the way to the Gabba and we beat a finalist in the last week not to get it,” he said.