Lions coach pleas with fans to stay loyal
TIPPED to be two of the big improvers in the competition this season, the reality facing the two Queensland teams is much like the weather that has inundated the region this week ... wet and gloomy.
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan may be confident the poor starts by the Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast Suns, the only teams without a victory this season, will be like the bad weather - just passing through and about to be replaced by sunnier times.
But Lions coach Justin Leppitsch (pictured) acknowledged his own team's poor form, which reached rock bottom last weekend against the West Coast Eagles in front of just 16,632 fans at the Gabba, would need to improve sharply to bring people back through the gates. Leppitsch said it was clear the Lions were going through the "down" part of the cycle, and urged fans to stick by the club, and also the Suns.
"One thing fans have to be now is loyal to the teams and the game because we all have tough times in life, but we have to stick fat through tough times, that's the facts of life," he said. "That's the reality of the cycle."
Poor form and bad weather are not the only issues testing the patience of fans. Both clubs will be without a host of stars for tomorrow's QClash at Metricon Stadium.
The Lions are still missing key defender Daniel Merrett (hamstring) and midfielder Pearce Hanley (hip), while the Suns have lost young midfielder David Swallow (knee) and All-Australian defender Nick Malceski (knee), not to mention inspirational captain Gary Ablett (shoulder).