IN CHARGE: Coach Chris Fagan talks to his players yesterday.
IN CHARGE: Coach Chris Fagan talks to his players yesterday.

Rockliff will have to earn back Lions captaincy

AFL: New senior coach Chris Fagan has forecast leadership changes at the Brisbane Lions.

Tom Rockliff, who has been captain since taking over from Jed Adcock for the 2015 season, is unlikely to remain in the role for 2017.

After an at-times controversial two years in charge, the star onballer looked certain to move clubs last month until agreeing to see out his contract, which has one year left to run.

While Fagan said yesterday he had held "productive” talks with the 26-year-old Victorian, "he knows the captaincy is up for grabs”.

"He knows what is required and appreciates the fact that I have been clear,” Fagan told media on the first day of pre-season training.

"He will be treated like any other player this pre-season.

"If he isn't captain he would be naturally disappointed. But what I am hoping is that he puts the effort in over the pre-season to put his name back up there.”

It is expected players will vote on who should be skipper before the start of the pre-season competition.

Winner of the last two best-and-fairest awards and a former Queensland under-age captain who has led by example at the Lions on the field and off it, Dayne Zorko must be a clear frontrunner.

"We'll take our time. We want to look at the guys across the pre-season to see who leads the group well,” Fagan said. "I don't want to precede anything, but whoever is Lions captain next year would have earned the right.”

Fagan addressed players as a group for the first time yesterday - those with less than five years' experience - and was impressed by their efforts on the park.

"I chatted to the players about continuous improvement and showing up to training with goals in mind,” he said.

"I was pleased with the boys' enthusiasm and effort. We had PBs in the time trial today. They had to be pulled back a little bit because they were too enthusiastic on the track.”

TERRY MALLINDER


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