"RUCKMAN Matthew Leuenberger knew what he wanted. Whether a then-coachless Essendon could give it to him remained a mystery.
Bombers officials had given their best sales pitch to Leuenberger, who had struggled to find time in the Brisbane Lions ruck last season, but they may as well have been wasting their time.
Leuenberger refused to make a decision on any potential move until Essendon — a club on the back of yet another trying season — appointed a coach, having parted ways with James Hird in August.
Enter John Worsfold, the deal-sealer.
“The recruitment and sales pitch was being done by (chief executive) Xavier (Campbell) and (list manager) Adrian Dodoro,’’ Leuenberger told the Herald Sun.
“So for me, it was like, ‘Well, that’s all well and good, but I’d like to know who the coach is going to be’.”
In Brisbane, Leuenberger played second fiddle in the ruck to Stefan Martin, admitting he “didn’t really know how to play” as a forward.
He was dropped by coach Justin Leppitsch, who also criticised his leadership abilities.
With a young family — partner Jess is aspiring to study medicine and son Luca is about to turn one — Leuenberger said he had more to think about than just himself, and being “wanted by the coach” was vital if he was to uproot from Brisbane.
“It’s all well and good for the recruiters to want you, but if the coach doesn’t want you (it’s pointless),” he said.
“I wanted to be more wanted by the coach than more wanted by the football manager. That’s how I had it in my head.”
The 27-year-old had also received strong interest from Sydney, but a ring-around to mates who had been coached by the man touted as hot favourite to get the Essendon job affirmed his choice.
“The media was putting it up that Woosha (Worsfold) was going to get the job, so I went and spoke to a couple of mates of mine who have been coached by him,” Leuenberger said.
“They told me everything about him. It sounded exactly like what I was after.”
Despite the issues the Bombers have faced, with 12 players still awaiting a decision from the Court of Arbitration for Sport, Leuenberger said his decision was met with little resistance from those in the game who understood his plight and desire for game time.
Leuenberger, who played 14 games last season, is positive things are about to change — both for him and the Bombers.
“I get to play in front of 90,000 people in the fifth round of the home-and-away season (Anzac Day), having come from a club that wouldn’t be recognised as a powerhouse,” he said.
“I’ve got a lot of time for Brisbane, but it’s not Essendon.
“I’m optimistic and there’s talent on the list. I think if we get some direction, which I think we’ll get from John, then things could turn.”
*Couldn’t find a Leuey thread, so merge if approriate