Brisbane Lions Senior Coach Justin Leppitsch has been sacked by the club with a year remaining on his contract.
Chairman Bob Sharpless announced the decision today following a Board meeting at Lions headquarters.
“The Brisbane Lions Football Club have decided to release Senior Coach Justin Leppitsch from the remainder of his contract with the club,” he said.
“The Club’s board came to the decision after a thorough review of the team’s performance and factors influencing our continued poor results.
“As part of our review, Justin presented to the Board last week and he gave an impressive summary of his three years as Coach and where he saw the team going in the years to come.
“He gave a number of reasons as to why the results haven’t reached the levels we all expect. Those factors include injuries, retirements, a clean-out of the playing list and fixture issues.
“Justin has achieved a lot during his three years as senior coach, but the Board was not satisfied given the results and lack of improvement of the past three years that the status quo should be maintained.
“The club needs to go in a different direction and we believe that begins with a new Senior Coach.”
Leppitsch was appointed to the role in September, 2013 on a three-year contract following four years as an Assistant Coach at Richmond.
The three-time All-Australian defender’s coaching career was hanging on a thread after the Lions won just 11 games in his first two seasons in the top job.
To the amazement of many in the AFL community, Leppitsch was offered a one-year contract extension at the beginning of 2016, which would see his contract expire at the conclusion of the 2017 season. The club today confirmed that the contract would be paid in full.
2016 was the fourth-consecutive season where Brisbane’s win-loss record has dropped from the previous year, with just three wins in 2016, finishing with a 58-point loss to St Kilda on Sunday afternoon.
The Lions have narrowly avoided bottom spot on percentage in the last two campaigns, and this season conceded a total of 2872 points at an average of 130.5 points per game, the most since GWS in 2013.
Two wins from the final six games of the season inspired some hope that Leppitsch would keep his position, but a number of heavy losses against including a record-breaking 138-point loss against the Adelaide Crows suggested his days were numbered.
“At the end of the day, AFL is a results-driven industry and we’re simply not a competitive football team at the moment,” Sharpless said.
“The nature of some of this season’s heavy defeats to teams around the same position on the ladder has been bitterly disappointed.”
The Club will begin the process of appointing a Senior Coach for the 2017 season immediately.