Rocky road, but could stay skip

January 18, 2017

Benalla AFL talent Tom Rockliff is a chance to retain the captaincy at Brisbane.

Benalla AFL talent Tom Rockliff is a chance to retain the captaincy at Brisbane.

The dual club best-and-fairest winner was expected to be stripped of his title this year after a disastorous last season when the Lions won only three games.

Speculation was rife in October that Rockliff, 26, could even be traded away from the Gabba.

He stayed put and new coach Chris Fagan said yesterday Rockliff had been a standout during the Lions’ pre-season.

‘‘He’s been outstanding around the group. He’s trained hard, he’s got a great attitude, he’s been a leader around the club and he’s been very supportive of me in my first few months,’’ Fagan said.

‘‘I just want to put that on the table at this stage.’’

Fellow star Lions midfielders Dayne Beams and Dayne Zorko appear frontrunners to take over as skipper, but Fagan said Rockliff was a chance to keep the role.

The players will select the leadership group in March. The group, along with Fagan, chief executive Greg Swann and football manager David Noble, will then pick the skipper to be ratified by the club’s board.

Fagan said he had a discussion with Rockliff when he took over as coach.

While Fagan only had praise for how Rockliff had tackled the pre-season, he said the one-time All-Australian received a ‘‘heavy’’ talking to in October.

‘‘I pointed out a few things I’d heard about him,’’ Fagan said.

‘‘I didn’t point out at the time that it wasn’t my opinion of him, it was just what I’d heard.

‘‘It was up to him to show me and the rest of the coaching group and his teammates what he was about this year. He’s been very, very good.’’

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