STAYING PUT: Tom Rockliff of the Lions in action.
STAYING PUT: Tom Rockliff of the Lions in action. BEN MACMAHON

Rockliff admits players partly to blame for Leppitsch's exit

AFL: Brisbane Lions captain Tom Rockliff has said he won't walk out on the club after admitting the players felt some responsibility for the sacking of coach Justin Leppitsch.

Rockliff has been the subject of trade speculation as talks over a new contract continue.

The 26-year-old still has a year to run on his deal and he told RSN radio he would be going nowhere.

"I'm contracted next year. I'll be here,” Rockliff said.

When asked if he and the players were partly to blame for Leppitsch's exit, Rockliff said: "I think you do a little bit.

"The players are the ones out there performing and trying to perform the game plan, and unfortunately we weren't able to do that this season to the level that needed to get done.

"You absolutely take a little bit of responsibility for it.”

After the Lions were hit hard on the scoreboard in a number of games, Rockliff said maybe the sacked coach's game plan had disintegrated as the season wore on.

"I think the way we played this year was probably a little bit too much offence,” he said.

"We got scored against heavily, but there was a number of factors and reasons why we didn't hit our straps. Injuries to key personnel didn't help that either.”

Rockliff said he tried to contact Leppitsch with no success and the captain said his successor should be a senior coach.

"I think we need someone that's going to educate the group and have a real strong focus on development,” he said.

"We know where we're at, we're young, and the development is really important for us.”



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