An emotional Justin Leppitsch pleaded for an end to questions about his future as Brisbane Lions coach, before lambasting his side’s effort in their 83-point defeat to Fremantle Dockers at the Gabba on Saturday.
When asked about his future as coach following the humbling by a team who lost their first 10 games of the season, Leppitsch responded angrily.
“Can we stop these silly questions? I’m getting over it to be honest,” Leppitsch said.
“Why would you ask someone if they’re going to lose their job? If you said that to someone on the street it’s a disgusting thing to say.
“Ask someone who decides it not me. Stop asking me. Ask Leigh (Matthews), ask Swanny (Lions CEO Greg Swann). I’ve got a job for 18 months to do and I’m doing it.”
Leppitsch was not prepared to defend his side’s effort, despairing at his players’ softness in the contest.
“It was not an acceptable effort – you can pull out 10 or 15 efforts that are cringe-worthy,” Leppitsch said.
“Our defensive pressure wasn’t there. When the time matters you have to commit your body. We’re not doing that.
“You can’t win the game if you’re not going to do the basics well.”
The Lions began the game strongly, scoring the first three goals. But the Dockers restored parity by quarter-time then kicked nine unanswered majors in the second quarter to effectively end the contest.
Leppitsch’s desperation at his side’s performance was obvious, but he suggested that passion might not be shared by some of his players.
“We’re three goals up, everything you’re planning is going well, you take a couple of punches on the chin and you go into your shells. You normally fight back don’t you?”
Plenty of home fans voted with their feet, departing the ground from early in the third quarter, leaving far fewer than the 12,899 – the second-lowest Lions attendance – at the Gabba at the game’s conclusion.
In contrast to Leppitsch’s woes, Dockers coach Ross Lyon had plenty of reasons to be cheerful and feel his team is making the transition to the more free flowing style of football played by the best sides in the competition.
With Dockers’ veteran spearhead Matthew Pavlich out with a groin injury, young key forward Matt Taberner impressed, kicking five goals in what may be looked back on as his breakout game.
Young midfielders Weller, who kicked four goals and was probably the best on ground, and Connor Blakely, with a team-high 29 disposals, outplayed their Brisbane counterparts.
Lyon admitted the visit of Port Adelaide to Domain Stadium next week will give a truer test of his side’s current position in the AFL hierarchy.
“We feel our ball use is really starting to come along – we’ve worked hard on that – but there’s bigger challenges (to come),” Lyon said.