Brisbane needs to offload its assistant coaches at the end of the season if the club is to keep revolutionising its culture and improve on the field.
It may seem premature to make such a suggestion after six rounds but there are remnants of the Justin Leppitsch era that remain in the coaching box and that can still impact on the gameplan implement by new coach Chris Fagan.
Murray Davis, Danny Daly and Ben Hudson were assistants but they remain at the club despite Leppa’s sacking. Fagan can only do so much in the coaches box but he needs support and those men can’t do that.
The Lions have shown moments of brilliance under Fagan like in the Round One victory against Gold Coast and even in the defeats against Essendon and Western Bulldogs but the Richmond and Port Adelaide defeats showed that the players can sadly revert back to their old habits.
These include excessive handballs, the inability to make tackles, the desperation to chase the opposition or pressure them, and an inability to win one-on-one battles.
A lot of the handballs are made in hope. The ball-carrier will handball to a teammate but he will only take the pressure off himself. His teammate will likely be placed under a barrage of pressure and can’t dispose of the ball cleanly and effectively.
Brisbane plays its best footy when the players go direct and emphasise on kicking. When that happens, forwards such as Eric Hipwood and Michael Close can kick goals and midfielders like Mitch Robinson and Dayne Zorko can make an impact on the scoreboard.
Defensive structure is important even if a team wants to play an attacking brand of footy and the Lions need to fix that up. The defence is easily pressured and opposition forwards can carve open the backline with their pace.
Brisbane has some promising key defenders like Darcy Gardiner and Harris Andrews but they are still very slender and need to bulk up. To atone for a lack of heavy frame, their ability to read the play needs to be sharper. So far there are little signs of the defensive coaches working on that with the players.
There have been some changes made to the coaching and development staff up at Brisbane in addition to the sacking of Leppitsch. For instance, Mitch Hahn is coaching the NEAFL side instead of woeful Shane Woewodin and the Lions have won four out of four games in that competition.
Alongside Fagan, former Collingwood VFL coach Dale Tapping is now coaching the midfield and working at the VFL means that Tapping should have experience with younger players, which would suit a young list like Brisbane’s.
Former captain Jed Adcock is the assistant midfield coach now and after his experience at the Western Bulldogs, he can pass on knowledge about the coaching of Luke Beveridge, who has a created a team that handballs effectively, gets the ball out of congestion and plays at a high tempo.
Davis, Daly, and Hudson were poor at their jobs under Leppitsch and their tasks probably won’t be performed any better under Fagan. They are not likely to provide great tactical ideas or words of wisdom so it is better to get rid of the weak points of the Lions’ coaching staff.
Brisbane must get rid of them at the end of 2017 and Fages needs to bring in more of his own people.