Lions to plead for pri­or­ity in draft

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - DAMIEN STAN­NARD

ONLY emer­gency draft as­sis­tance can halt the plung­ing for­tunes of the Bris­bane Lions, who will put their case for a pri­or­ity pick to the AFL Com­mis­sion.

Coach Justin Lep­pitsch is re­ly­ing on the benev­o­lence of the football com­mu­nity to stem the bleed­ing of a loom­ing wooden spoon and fur­ther de­ple­tion of the club’s stocks should midfielder James Aish and free agent Matthew Leuen­berger de­cide to opt out of the Gabba.

Lions chief ex­ec­u­tive Greg Swann is sched­uled to meet AFL boss Gil­lon McLach­lan in Mel­bourne to­day, and list as­sis­tance is likely to be high on the agenda.

It seems the only way out of the dol­drums for Bris­bane, who have only two wins to show from 16 games this sea­son and lit­tle chance of adding to that tally.

Start­ing to­mor­row against Gee­long, the Lions’ run home in­cludes games against Ade­laide, Hawthorn and the Bull­dogs, with con­tests against Carl­ton and Gold Coast their best chance of suc­cess.

Free agency helps, but the tight­en­ing of academy con­ces­sions has left the club with lit­tle op­tion other than plead to the AFL for an ex­tra se­lec­tion at the end of the draft’s first round.

“It de­pends how quickly the AFL com­mu­nity want us to get bet­ter,” Lep­pitsch said.

“They’ve taken away the academy ad­van­tages we’ve had.

“So ob­vi­ously there’s no real thought that they want this club to get bet­ter quicker.

“That’s some­thing for the law­mak­ers to de­cide.

“If we win the last six games they’ll def­i­nitely say no.’’

Bris­bane has five first- round picks – Aish, Leuen­berger, Daniel Rich, Sam Mayes and Marco Pa­parone – on their list. Greater Western Syd­ney have 22.

If the Lions were to lose any of those five, the club’s lack of top- flight tal­ent would pro­vide a strong ar­gu­ment for the AFL to con­sider spe­cial as­sis­tance.

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