Lions to plead for priority in draft
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.