Lions coach Justin Leppitsch says he has little choice but to stick with his greenhorns for a treacherous end to the AFL season.
Brisbane Lions coach Justin Leppitsch won’t be tempering his youth-first rebuilding plans despite Sunday’s record loss at the Gabba.
The Lions featured six of their seven first-year players, as well as four second-year players, as they were “bullied” in their 105-point humiliation by Adelaide.
It was the club’s worst AFL defeat at the Gabba and more pain is expected as Brisbane finish the season against Collingwood, Fremantle and Geelong.
But there’s only one way ahead for Leppitsch who has been praised for his future-first approach since the Lions (now 6-13) sunk to 1-9 over the first 10 rounds.
“We always knew this last month is going to be tough because we’re playing all finals contenders and those that are entrenched in the finals,” he said.
“That’s going to be the next leg of our journey to compete and compete well and remain in the game for longer.
“We’re going to have games where our energy level dips but we can’t have our competitive nature drop as well, that was probably the most disappointing part (against Adelaide).
“We didn’t stand up today and they bullied us around.”
Although Brisbane is suffering without key players like the retired Jonathan Brown, Daniel Rich, Matthew Leuenberger and Jack Redden, a number of more experienced men were overlooked for the Crows’ drubbing.
Premiership small forward Ash McGrath was omitted along with fourth-year players Ryan Lester and Claye Beams, while Andrew Raines and James Polkinghorne are languishing in the reserves.
Leppitsch said form and injuries – which have also cut down Brent Staker, Brent Maloney, Trent West, Luke McGuane and Mitch Golby – left him little choice.
“I don’t know who I’ve got to bring back in,” he said. “We’ve got the guys who have played 50 games I suppose.
“Rainsey is one (100-plus player) and his form is okay but no better than the guys around him but he’s only one.
“That’s where our list is at and it’s only going to get younger next year, that’s the reality of it.”