The Brisbane Lions may be short-priced favourites to win the AFL’s wooden spoon but coach Justin Leppitsch says he feels safe in his job.
A loss to rivals Gold Coast in Saturday’s QClash at the Gabba would all but stitch up the most unwanted prize in sport for the Lions, who have won just two games for the year despite pre-season hopes of a potential finals berth.
Leppitsch is out of contract at the end of next season but said on Thursday he was not expecting a tap on the shoulder anytime soon, despite Brisbane’s horrific form and the absence of any real tangible improvement in the team.
“I hope so,” Leppitsch said when asked if he felt if his job was secure.
“One thing (former Lion and current Geelong coach) Chris Scott said to me was you always think tomorrow is going to be the day you get sacked irrespective of the number of wins and losses you’ve had. There’s so much that rides on what the senior coach does.
“Small-mindedly, people could say we’ve gone backwards so I guess that’s a part of it.
“I’m pretty confident we’ll go forward from here.”
The Lions announced on Wednesday that club football manager Dean Warren, who oversaw Leppitsch’s appointment as coach after the axing of Michael Voss, would leave the club at the end of the season.
Warren is in his fifth year in the role and while the decision to leave was his alone, his departure could lead to further off-field change at the Gabba.
The Lions have made the finals only once since losing the 2004 grand final to Port Adelaide and are set to apply to the AFL for a priority draft pick at the end of the year.
Leppitsch said he was in no doubt that the Lions were on the right track.
“We’re doing exactly the same thing as what the Brisbane Bears did in the early ’90s, what Hawthorn did, what Geelong did and what Richmond did when I was there as an assistant,” he said.
“The short-term vision and the wins and losses haven’t added up right now but I know long term, I’ve seen this cycle and the people you have to bring into your organisation, off field and on field.
“I’ve also never seen a year so injury riddled. I’ve never seen this sort of year.
“We’ve got to cop it on the chin that we had a poor year as a club and as a coaching group and playing group and we’ll all get better.”