‘Leppa’ en­joys the Tigers after Li­ons night­mare

Dalby Herald - - SPORT -

JUSTIN Lep­pitsch is liv­ing a dream.

The for­mer Bris­bane Li­ons coach left Rich­mond at the end of the 2013 sea­son to take up the Li­ons role, re­turn­ing to Punt Rd for this sea­son.

And he ad­mits pinch­ing him­self has al­most be­come sec­ond na­ture.

“It’s funny – for me it’s like I’ve wo­ken up and said, ‘I’ve had this weird dream, last night – you wouldn’t be­lieve it’,” Lep­pitsch said.

“Ev­ery­thing hap­pens – good, bad the whole lot.

“A horse walks in... all this strange stuff hap­pens. And you walk away just go­ing, ‘How did I go from last year to this year?’.

“A lot of emo­tion has gone into the last 12 months for me – good and bad. It’s a hard one to even sort of quan­tify to be hon­est. “I’m just thank­ful. “Any week if you get to grand fi­nal week, you’re very thank­ful and I’m just so happy Damien (Hard­wick) asked me to come back last year and be part of this. It’s awesome.”

Lep­pitsch was sacked by the Bris­bane Li­ons at the end of last sea­son, de­spite hav­ing been granted a one-year ex­ten­sion on his con­tract.

But now he’s in yel­low and black and pre­par­ing the Tigers for Satur­day’s grand fi­nal.

“You never want to leave a job, you never want to get booted from a job – no one wants that,” he said.

“But I think at the end of the day, I’ve en­joyed ev­ery mo­ment of it.

“How can you com­plain when you’re sit­ting here right now and you get to play in the big­gest game of the year?”

Lep­pitsch isn’t fore­cast­ing any changes to the team that de­feated GWS.

“We just have to de­cide if we’re go­ing to make any forced changes – if some­one pulls up sore from train­ing or some­thing like that,” the for­mer Li­ons coach said.

“At this point, I don’t think there’ll be a lot of change but we still have to bat­tle it out at 2 o’clock (Thurs­day af­ter­noon train­ing ses­sion).”

There are some sore bod­ies in the team’s midst, but Lep­pitsch said there was

❝How can you com­plain when you’re sit­ting here right now and you get to play in the big­gest game of the year? — Justin Lep­pitsch

“noth­ing that’s go­ing to be re­ally wor­ry­ing for this week’s game”.

The for­mer Li­ons star – who was part of Bris­bane’s three-peat of pre­mier­ships – has been a valu­able source of in­tel for Rich­mond as it em­barks on its first grand fi­nal in 35 years.

“Most of it’s about dis­trac­tions and the things on the out­side that go on that are dif­fer­ent for the week,” he said.

“Ev­ery part of the game gets dis­sected by ev­ery­body.

“It’s just to know that that goes on and to ac­cept it but at the mo­ment it’s just all about the game.

“You find about 50 new mates (want­ing tick­ets) in grand fi­nal week.”

PHOTO: MICHAEL DODGE/ GETTY

HAV­ING FUN: Justin Lep­pitsch shares a joke with Dustin Martin.

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