The Courier-Mail

Gabba floodgates fear

- GREG DAVIS @gregdavis_cmail

BRISBANE last night hosed down speculatio­n that the player exodus from the Gabba has only just begun.

Talented utility Sam Mayes is the latest name to be linked with an early exit from the Gabba, one day after Jack Redden dropped a bombshell by requesting a trade despite having a year left on his contract.

Ruckman Stefan Martin’s name continues to come up as another who wants out, Jed Adcock has been told he is not required and James Aish and Matthew Leuenberge­r are expected to go too.

Mayes, 21 (pictured), was pick eight in the 2012 draft and, like Redden, hails from South Australia. He is contracted until the end of 2016.

Lions CEO Greg Swann last night played down the Mayes speculatio­n, insisting there had been no approach from Mayes or his management.

Captain Tom Rockliff yesterday admitted rumours of a player exodus were a concern.

“I think when one (player) goes you are always worried. There’s speculatio­n about a lot of players,’’ he said.

“I think most of the group is pretty happy and can see the future and where we are heading. There might be the odd couple that can’t.’’

Redden yesterday declined to comment on his relationsh­ip with coach Justin Leppitsch, which was believed to be a key reason behind his request for a new home.

Instead, the 24-year-old told The Courier-Mail that he wanted to find a new home to arrest his “average’’ form over the past two seasons.

Redden said fronting Leppitsch to ask for a trade was difficult but necessary, as he was keen to put mounting speculatio­n over his future to rest in a respectful manner.

“It was one of the toughest things I’ve had to do,’’ he said.

“I’ve got so many great friends at Brisbane and have built up a lot of great relationsh­ips over the years.

“I respect the footy club so much. That’s why this is so hard.

“I just feel like my football has gone stale over the past two years and I need a fresh start. I feel like a fresh environmen­t will help me get back to playing to my potential.’’

Redden stressed that he was not homesick and was not chasing more money.

The 129-gamer has attracted criticism for his disposal efficiency and decision-making skills under pressure but there is no denying the respect he commands among the young Lions for his courage, workrate and experience.

Redden, who made his AFL debut for Brisbane in 2009, played with a groin injury all year and succumbed to the problem after the Round 21 loss to Adelaide.

West Coast have been mooted as his early club of choice but Redden will keep his options open heading into next month’s trade period.

A senior Lions official de- scribed the Redden situation as “retrievabl­e’’, as Brisbane held the whip hand with him still being contracted.

But if he remained committed to being traded, Brisbane would do a deal.

Rockliff spent most of Monday talking to Redden and was disappoint­ed he could not turn his best friend around.

“Our main focus is to try and keep him ... but he seems pretty set on it (leaving),’’ Rockliff said.

“I don’t think there’s anything I can do to change his mind. His issues are with other things within the footy club. Obviously, we have to look at the way we do things around the footy club.

“It was pretty hard to swallow. It wasn’t easy for him to make that decision either.’’

 ??  ?? FRESH START:
Jack Redden feels his game has gone stale.
FRESH START: Jack Redden feels his game has gone stale.

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