Will the Lions roar in 2014?
It’s been a busy off-season at the Gabba. Since narrowly missing out on the 2013 Finals Series, the club has a new coach, along with forced changes at board level and a player exodus making alarming headlines.
Despite winning ten games and within an arm’s reach of the top eight, Michael Voss’ coaching tenure came to an abrupt end and was ultimately replaced by Justin Leppitsch, an ex-premiership teammate.
The end of year player exodus escalated for the Lions at the end of 2013, as Billy Longer (St Kilda), Sam Docherty (Carlton), Jared Polec (Port Adelaide) led the departures during the Free Agency and Trade Period.
To add to that, the issues at board level continued to create instability as former coach Leigh Matthews led a challenge against former Chairman Angus Johnson.
After months of no action the board was spilt and Matthews was installed as Football Director, providing a resource for the incoming coach.
The appointment of Justin Leppitsch has come with plenty of criticism, yet it must be remembered that the Voss appointment was a rushed one when he replaced triple premiership coach Leigh Matthews at the end of 2008.
With a poor coaching record, its fair to say the Voss appointment failed and further illustrates the importance of appointing a coach who has served a solid apprenticeship.
‘Leppa’, as he is known, has served a seven-year apprenticeship at the Lions and Richmond. But the challenge of leading this club back to the success he was a part of under Matthews will be no easy task - they’re coming from a long way back.
Ex-Hawthorn coach Peter Schwab joins the coaching staff, along with former Bulldog Mitch Hahn and close friend Matthew Francis in development roles.
So, Lions fans, have we got the structure right to deliver bigger and better in 2014?
Let me know what you think and any thoughts on what you’d like to see from the most successful club in the Sunshine State.
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