Brisbane coach admits the Lions’ three AFL debutants could be overawed against premiers Hawthorn on Saturday but that’s a risk he’s willing to take.
Brisbane coach Justin Leppitsch admits three young Lions players making their AFL debut against defending premiers Hawthorn will likely feel overawed.
But former Lions star Leppitsch, preparing for his first game as an AFL senior coach, says James Aish, Lewis Taylor and Michael Close are ready and deserve to be lining up in Saturday’s round one clash in Launceston.
“They probably will be overawed but you’ve got to play somebody. If you’re ready to go, you’re ready to go,” Leppitsch said.
“Whether it’s Hawthorn, Melbourne, GWS or Gold Coast, it doesn’t really matter who your first game’s against.
“It’s about if you’re ready to go, you’re ready to go.
“We see a future for all those boys so they’ve got to rise to that challenge.
“Sometimes it’s going to be hard for them for this year, other times they’ll do it well.”
Leppitsch says he himself doesn’t have any nerves ahead of his coaching bow and he even offered a toungue-in-cheek suggestion Lions spearhead and ex-teammate Jonathan Brown could find himself subbed if he struggles to see out the game due to his limited pre-season.
“He’s only had a limited preparation but he’s had so many years behind him that he’ll be fine,” Leppitsch said of the veteran forward.
“He’ll be an important part this weekend to provide a contest so I’m hoping he can play out the whole game and be fine.
“If not I’ll just sub him. Get rid of him, what do you reckon?
“How would he like to wear the red vest? I don’t think he’d like that would he? That’s not a bad point, I might do that.”