Brisbane coach Justin Leppitsch says injuries to Daniel Rich and Matthew Leuenberger have hurt his side this season.
Brisbane are mired in misery, but rookie coach Justin Leppitsch is confident the wheel will eventually turn.
The Lions remain in a dog fight to avoid this year’s wooden spoon after slumping to an 83-point loss to Fremantle in Saturday night’s AFL clash in Perth.
Brisbane’s total of 3.4 (22) was the second lowest score in Bears/Brisbane Lions history.
Only the 2.5 (17) posted by the Bears against Hawthorn in 1988 was worse.
Leppitsch played during the Lions’ golden era when they won a hat-trick of flags between 2001-03.
But he also experienced the tail-end of Brisbane’s dark days of the early 1990s, when the club won just 15 games over the space of four seasons.
Although times are tough now, Leppitsch knows they won’t be stuck in the doldrums forever.
“I was at this club in 1993 when it wasn’t in its glory days and it was very similar to this, so you have to start from somewhere,” Leppitsch said.
“Players realise the system of AFL – you go through your ups and downs and you go through cycles of rebuilding, and we’re in that phase.
“The players know we’re not going to run out and beat the best teams in the competition this year. That’s just where we are at.”
Leppitsch didn’t unleash a spray on his players following their insipid loss to Fremantle.
Instead, he urged them to learn from the Dockers’ miserly defensive display, believing it was the platform to build future success from.
“A rant and rave wasn’t on the cards,” Leppitsch said.
“It was more, ‘What did you learn from Fremantle… what can we take out of it? What do they do well?’
“Defensively Fremantle are the best team in the competition. No doubt.
“They invest in it, they have selfless players; they have a team of players who are very good.”
Long-term injuries to Daniel Rich and Matthew Leuenberger, plus last year’s departures of Elliot Yeo, Jared Polec and Billy Longer have hurt a Lions outfit already light on for starpower.
The future of Jonathan Brown remains up in the air as the veteran weighs up retirement following three sickening head knocks over the past 12 months.
Leppitsch said there would be no time frame on the decision.
“You’re asking a guy to make a decision on his future when he’s not even passing a concussion test,” Leppitsch said ahead of Saturday’s clash with North Melbourne at the Gabba.
“So he’s gone away to think about that with his family. I’ll meet with him and take it step by step.”