UNDER PRESSURE: Brisbane Lions coach Justin Leppitsch leads his players off after another defeat this year.
UNDER PRESSURE: Brisbane Lions coach Justin Leppitsch leads his players off after another defeat this year.

Wolves at the door for Lions’ Leppitsch

BRISBANE chief executive Greg Swann was back on the front foot yesterday, forced to defend his embattled coach and his perceived “bad temper”.

That fiery redhead Justin Leppitsch is, of course, copping heat of his own for not putting up a fake facade during a press conference last week.

Instead of smiling through gritted teeth, he let loose with words like “crap”, “lies” and “bulls**t” to describe talk of a player revolt.

“Every coach in the world has had a minor blow-up at a press conference but from the playing group’s point of view there’s certainly no bad tempers,” Swann told Brisbane radio.

Leppitsch, though, has every right to feel aggrieved right now. Make that bloody angry. And not just at the media, but also at his players, and probably himself.

The players may be backing him off the field, but they have been letting him down on it far too often due to limitations either they or Leppitsch and his coaching team are unable to rectify.

And unfortunately it has left him teetering on the brink of getting the chop.

If the Lions lose their clash with an Essendon line-up ravaged by the fallout from the supplements scandal on Sunday, the axe could very fall soon – be it next week or the end of this season.

Forget rumours and innuendo, the fact is defeat will leave the club dead last on the ladder, and almost certain to finish the year with just one solitary win, and in a coach’s third season at the helm that just doesn’t add up.

There has always been an element of patience needed due to the Lions having the league’s youngest list, which has only been compounded by injuries to key players, not least of all arguably their best, Dayne Beams.

“You can see that in a couple of years’ time they’re going to be super players these kids, but at the moment we’re in that growing pains phase,” Swann added.

But that patience is wearing thin and Leppitsch may not have two years.

The wolves are beginning to arrive at the door. They don’t worry about who’s playing or who’s not.

You can’t help wonder if Mark Thompson is one of those wolves, perhaps dressed in sheep’s clothing?

The two-time Geelong premiership coach has made it clear he’s keen to get back to the frontline, and though he’s denied it, he might be sniffing around at the Gabba.

Former Essendon teammate and member of the sacked coaches club Tim Watson has questioned whether Thompson’s heart would be in it at Brisbane.

“I personally don’t see Justin Leppitsch hanging on to that position so I think that job will become available to somebody, but that is going to be a monumental task for a coach,” he told Melbourne radio.

“It requires the attention, the 24-hours, seven-days-a-week attention of somebody. They have to be totally dedicated to the task of wanting to help rebuild that.”

Leppitsch, a three-time premiership player, had happily put up his hand up for the job. But his rebuild is caving in around him.

And now there’s talk of possible replacements to boot, so you can understand him being a little ticked off.