Premiership defender Justin Leppitsch to replace Michael Voss as coach of Brisbane Lions
TRIPLE Brisbane premiership defender Justin Leppitsch will be the Lions' sole senior coach after the club abandoned its succession plan involving Neil Craig.
Leppitsch is currently a highly regarded Richmond assistant coach but will return to Brisbane to try to save a club in freefall.
An official announcement is expected this afternoon or tomorrow after Leppitsch impressed the club‘s coaching selection panel in recent interviews.
Lepptisch's appointment was ratified by the club's board today at a board meeting in Melbourne.
Melbourne caretaker coach Craig was seen to be the man to ease a younger assistant into a the role, but coaching panel member Leigh Matthews said last Thursday he was not in favour of succession models.
The succession plan has been adopted by Melbourne, where Paul Roos will serve as senior coach while he mentors his successor.
Leppitsch is a 227-gamer who will need all of his wiles if he is to help Brisbane given its current troubles.
The Herald Sun last week revealed that all of top-30 draft picks Billy Longer, Elliot Yeo and Jared Polec want out, with five other players considering their future.
He will need to sooth a frazzled playing list as well as make key decisions on the future of former teammates Simon Black and Jonathan Brown.
The Lions are also cash-strapped and asking the AFL Commission for a handout to help them given their financial predicament.
The Lions lost $2,513,262 last year, following losses of $1.8m in 2011 and $2.5m in 2010.
Leppitsch is the favourite son that Brisbane needs, but even he would concede he does not have a wealth of experience.
After retiring from the Lions he was an assistant coach there before putting in four years with Richmond.
He is a premiership teammate of Michael Voss, who was sacked late in the season.
The board dispute at Brisbane was not solved at a mediation meeting at AFL headquarters today.
Chairman Angus Jonsion has not budged from his stance and the club appears to be still on track for an Emergency General Meeting.
Talks will resume tomorrow and may last for some days.