Sport

Rockliff to stay with Lions under new coach

Tom Rockliff of the Brisbane Lions will be staying put.
Tom Rockliff of the Brisbane Lions will be staying put. DAN PELED

AFL: Departing midfielder Pearce Hanley hopes his friend and former skipper Tom Rockliff will get the "proper support” now he has recommitted to Brisbane.

The Lions announced that the 26-year-old, who had been at the centre of trade speculation, would see out his contract next season and play under new coach Chris Fagan.

"Tom is 100% committed to where we are headed and the journey we are going to take together as a club,” Lions football boss David Noble said in a statement.

"Our program demands selfless footballers and leaders who can help others lift their games to a higher level.

"Chris has spoken to Tom about raising the bar on his performance in the year ahead and there is a definite understanding on that.

"We're happy that Tom is staying at the club and we all look forward to better times ahead.”

While remaining as captain is unlikely, Hanley said Rockliff was still the man for the job.

"I think if Tom gets the proper support around him from the footy club as a whole, then he's definitely the right person to be captain,” the Irishman said.

"He's obviously had a tough year and the club itself has had a couple of tough years ... I guess someone had to cop it, and unfortunately it was Tom, but I think if he gets the right support he can be very successful.

"Once he gets a full pre-season under his belt look out, because I think he's going to have a very good year.”

Hanley, 27, has arrived at the Gold Coast after 129 games with the Lions, and said he was excited about the future.

He said he was keen to "get the best out of my body” after a frustrating season form-wise.

"They're driven and trying to earn the respect of the competition on and off the field, like I am,” he said of the Suns.

"I think this freshen-up will do me the world of good.”

Adelaide onballer Jarryd Lyons was also poised to join the Suns - a move that would go some ways towards offsetting the departures of Dion Prestia and Jaeger O'Meara.

After finalising a deal to send Prestia to Richmond, the Suns added pick six to selections four, eight, 26 and 44 they already have in the national draft.

A Victorian, Prestia said "coming home was a big factor”, and of choosing Richmond he said "it was probably their list - being able to play with the likes of (Dustin) Martin, (and Trent) Cotchin”.

A trade with Hawthorn (which has picks 10 and 48 on offer) for O'Meara continues to drag out, with Suns chairman Tony Cochrane saying: "They (the Hawks) have promised this bloke the world and they're going to hand him an atlas.”

Topics:  brisbane lions gold coast suns pearce hanley tom rockliff



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