CONFIDENCE DOWN: Lions players are dejected as the leave the field following the Round 16 AFL match against the Gold Coast Suns.
CONFIDENCE DOWN: Lions players are dejected as the leave the field following the Round 16 AFL match against the Gold Coast Suns. DAVE HUNT

Battling Lions have right to feel aggrieved

DARK clouds may be hovering over the Brisbane Lions, but there still appears to be plenty of shadows to jump at.

A certain television news report on Saturday night had the Lions in “crisis” and AFL football operations boss Mark Evans arriving at the Gabba last week to conduct an “intervention”.

With another player exodus supposedly looming, the AFL had allegedly lost patience with the battling club and sent ‘Mr Fix-It’ Evans north to sort out the mess.

But, while Evans was indeed front and centre for a visit, it seems it was hardly about putting the Lions over his knee.

In fact, the Lions were adamant yesterday they had actually rolled out the red carpet and invited him.

The club knows full well it is struggling, both on and off the field, with one win from 15 games, and reportedly in debt to the tune of about $12million.

And Evans, who was the football boss at Hawthorn for 10 years, is the go-to man from a league perspective there to provide support.

Brisbane chief executive Greg Swann said Evans’ visit was to help the club prepare for an already scheduled AFL Commission meeting later this month.

“I asked Mark to come up and go through preparations with us for that meeting because he is very experienced,” Swann said. “He knows what’s going on around the league ... it was actually a good day.

“It’s about resourcing – he spoke to a few guys and asked what else we need and between us we got a wish list.”

The club is currently spending about $1.2million below the soft cap on football department expenditure.

“We are looking for extra resourcing in a whole range of areas to help improve our footy and compete on a level playing field, like a full-time psychologist, a forward scout, high performance and recruiting staff, and development staff,” Swann said

“Meetings like we had with Mark are just all part of that ongoing process and happen at clubs across the competition.”

There was no mention of him talking to “concerned” players who may become part of the next great exodus out of Brisbane.

The Lions are probably sweating on decisions to be made by half-forwards Lewis Taylor and Josh Green, the only senior members who remain unsigned, with Sam Mayes already signed.

And as good as that pair is as players, the club is within its rights to baulk at their reported asking price, upwards of $500,000 a season.

The Lions deserve the odd whack but on a night when Eric Hipwood, Rhys Mathieson and first-gamer Reuben William impressed against Gold Coast, let them have a moment in the sun without kicking them while they’re down.

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