The Brisbane Lions did nothing to help the cause of AFL in Queensland. Photo: AAP Image.
The Brisbane Lions did nothing to help the cause of AFL in Queensland. Photo: AAP Image.

Leppitsch hope takes beating in Brisbane

BEING in charge of player welfare at the Lions, former star Craig Lambert takes all manner of avenues to try and lift his boys.

Social media is one in which the highly respected off-field mentor who worked wonders at the Giants before returning to Brisbane this season tries to instil hope.

"Success is not measured by what you accomplish, but by the opposition you have encountered, and the courage with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds," was the message he posted on Instagram on Saturday night.

It followed a game in which Brisbane resembled the love child of the lion, scarecrow and tin man from The Wizard of Oz, lacking not only the courage that is supposed be their hallmark, but also heart and brains, against a visiting opponent struggling even more than it was.

But while the heat came off Nathan Buckley ever so slightly after Collingwood's 78-point win at the Gabba, it was turned up on Justin Leppitsch after one of the Lions' worst performances in his three years at the helm.

Leppitsch said the first half, in particular, was "bizarre", and left him "shocked".

But you could also use "embarrassed" after the hosts allowed the visitors to kick the first eight goals on the way to having 28 scoring shots to three by the main break.

The Magpies, missing as many as 12 regulars, could have been up by 100 points, and not 65, if not for poor kicking at goal.

And to think the Lions - who have their own injury concerns - had been favourites with many.

"I question everything we do. I question myself daily. I sit there, every second (asking) 'Is this the right session?', 'Are we doing the right things?'," Leppitsch said after the game, suddenly looking as despondent as his players, and the fans for that matter.

The game attracted the biggest crowd (24,552) to the Gabba since the last clash between the two teams in round one last season.

But about 18,000 of them would have been Magpie fans, Lions supporters staying away in droves, and many of those who did attend presumably walking out at half-time.

Ten years ago, these two were attracting almost 40,000 to games in Brisbane.

When 52,000 attended the (conveniently scheduled) NRL double-header at Suncorp Stadium, it was an incredibly disappointing scoreline for AFL in Queensland, especially when coming on the back of the Gold Coast's crushing loss to GWS in Sydney.

Just days after trying to give the state a pump up, it lets you down, the Lions and Suns beaten by a combined 169 points, taking their two-round tally to 319 from four defeats.

But, such is the extent of Gold Coast's own injury list, the Lions sent out a midfield the Suns could only dream about. There was no excuse for Brisbane's display.

And Lambert has his work cut out trying to rebuild hope, and not just in the players.

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