DAVID SIMON & AARON COOPER
Brisbane Lions coach Justin Leppitsch has insisted the Lions will not be taking this Saturday’s game against Carlton at the Gabba lightly as the embattled club looks to restore some pride.
With two home games remaining in season 2016, Leppitsch said at a press conference this morning that the team will still be looking for wins.
“We have two more games at home and we want to win both the games,” said Leppitsch.
“(It’s) for our fans really, we’ve got to give them something to cheer about this year, it’s important that they go away seeing some results and that they can say these boys are having a crack.
“It’s the word pride, the man in the stands wants to see the guys have a dig for a longer period of time, that’s really it, it’s what this week is about.”
Following last week’s capitulation to the Adelaide crows, it was the club’s second-worst loss in its history and Leppitsch lamented that Monday’s are tough around the club, as they have been for most of the year.
“We’ve gone through a similar cycle with losses this year where Monday’s the day of depression where everyone’s not happy and by Tuesday onwards you build the group back up,” he said.
“This week was no different.”
No side has used more than the 39 players the Lions have this season. Leppitsch believes the combination of a wealth of young talent and absence of experienced players such as former Collingwood star Dayne Beams has hurt the Lions throughout 2016.
“You want to expose players with some really good support around them, and you don’t want too many players without that support,” he said.
“We probably have that at the moment. We don’t have enough leaders per young players.”
Brisbane’s top draft-pick Josh Schache will not play any further part in the Lions 2016 season with Leppitsch confirming the 18-year-old will be rested for the remainder of the year after doing his fair share in his first season of senior football.
“He’s been terrific this year and he’s given our supporters some hope,” Leppitsch said.
“We’ve asked a lot of group this year, particularly our younger brigade. They’ve had to endure more than most and the results haven’t come.
“It’s a double-whammy not having the physical or emotional success so we thought as a club it was the right thing to do with him.”
Whilst the Lions’ defensive record is by far the worst in the competition and despite their ordeals down back, Leppitsch’s squad has been reasonably potent in front of goal in the context of season where the side will finish 17th for a second-consecutive season.
Leppitsch believes the Lions have the stocks to cover Schache’s absence for the final three rounds, with Michael Close’s return from injury believed to be imminent.
“We think we’ve got the goals to replace him short-term but long-term too there’s some hope so it’s really exciting for the club,” he said.