Ross Lyon backs in Lions coach Leppitsch

Fremantle coach Ross Lyon says anyone who thinks besieged Brisbane coach Justin Leppitsch should be axed needs to look at the facts.

Leppitsch’s job has come under scrutiny following the Lions’ 1-10 start to the season.

Overall, the 40-year-old has won only 12 of his 55 games at the helm, giving him a success rate of just 21.8 per cent.

Lions deputy chairman and football director Leigh Matthews insists Leppitsch’s job is safe, saying the three-time premiership defender deserves more time in the role.

Leppitsch is contracted until the end of next season, and Lyon says anyone trying to push the third-year coach out of the role hasn’t done their homework.

“We’re all under pressure in this business, but I think he’s handled himself really well,” Lyon said.

“(They’ve had) 34 changes on the list in three years.

“Those that are speculating and trying to lower the boom on him probably should look at the fact that they’re rebuilding.”

Fremantle take on the Lions at the Gabba on Saturday, and the Dockers have also come under the pump this season with an identical 1-10 record.

But unlike Leppitsch, Lyon’s position isn’t under threat this year, with the veteran coach locked in until 2020.

Both Brisbane and Fremantle have been hit hard on the injury front this year.

The Dockers’ casualty ward now stands at 16 players after veteran Matthew Pavlich, ruckman Jon Griffin, and forward Michael Apeness became the latest to be cut down.

Pavlich is almost certain to miss the Lions match after aggravating a groin complaint in last week’s drought-breaking win over Essendon.

The 34-year-old is also battling a virus.

Griffin (hamstring) will spend around three weeks on the sidelines, while Apeness isn’t expected to return until round 18 after undergoing surgery to fix his fractured collarbone.

Ruck duo Zac Clarke and Jack Hannath have been recalled, while 22-year-old swingman Tanner Smith will play just his third AFL match.

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