The Courier-Mail

COAST OFFER

GIL’S HAPPY WITH STATE OF THE GAME

- GREG DAVIS

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan says speculatio­n of a player exodus from the Gabba is a concern.

But he has the utmost confidence in Brisbane’s ability to ride out the storm and is hopeful the Lions will “emerge quickly’’ from the AFL cellar.

McLachlan was in Brisbane last week to meet with Lions officials, and attended the club’s Round 23 clash with the Western Bulldogs on Saturday.

“You’d prefer not to hear the noise (about players allegedly leaving).leaving) But I’veI’ got t faith in the Brisbane administra­tion,’’ he said.

“They are building a culture and a club from the bottom up so it is a place where people want to play their footy.

“Clubs lose players and move on. That’s football.

“The Lions will get a very high draft pick and they have good academy kids coming through too.

“I see guys like Jono Freeman and Harris Andrews, who is a star, as other local boys on the list with great potential.

“There’s been talk Bib Brisbane are l lookingki at using that high draft pick to get Josh Schache, who wants to come to the Lions, so that is also encouragin­g. Brisbane are regenerati­ng.’’

McLachlan is content with Brisbane’s off-field financial form and expects them to run to budget this year.

The AFL boss said injuries had cruelled both of the Queensland clubs in 2015 and was not dismayed by the state of the game in the Sunshine State despite Brisbane and Gold Coast occupying two of the last three places on the ladder with a combined total of eight wins and one draw from 44 games.

“The Gold Coast basically lost their entire midfield. Brisbane have lost 240 games through injury while the league average is 90,’’ he said.

“In a competitio­n that is so tight, if you have injuries to that extent, it is very difficult to compete.

“Our preference is for the Lions to emerge quickly and for the Suns to get back on the trajectory they were on.

“Of course we’d like them to be going better but we have great faith in the underlying support for our game up here. There is a strength and resilience in our game that people underestim­ate.

“Both clubs will get there. It might take a little time but they will be OK.’’

McLachlan believes the way Gold Coast handled offfield disciplina­ry issues this year could set up the Suns for long-term success.

“This could be the making of them. The test was always going to be how talented teenagers transition­ed into men because you need to be men to compete in this league,’’ he said.

“Under the leadership of people like Rodney (Eade), they have taken significan­t steps.’’

 ??  ?? GOING FORWARD: AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan meets Lions CEO Greg Swann and Suns CEO Andrew Travis at Metricon Stadium. Picture: Mike Batterham
GOING FORWARD: AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan meets Lions CEO Greg Swann and Suns CEO Andrew Travis at Metricon Stadium. Picture: Mike Batterham

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