Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Why Whateley wouldn’t fight tooth and nail to play finals in 2024 if he were Brisbane

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Gerard Whateley would go about the second half of the 2024 season differently if he were in charge of Brisbane.

After coming off a runners-up finish in 2023, the Lions have just four wins to their name through 11 games in 2024 and sit 13th, 10 points behind eighth-placed Carlton.

With even finals looking unlikely this campaign, Whateley would put all of his energy into preparing for the 2025 season where he thinks the side can return to contention given the strength of their list and additions of Levi Ashcroft at the draft as well as welcoming back young stars Will Ashcroft and Keidean Coleman from injury.

Whateley wouldn’t worry about fighting tooth and nail to finish seventh as he thinks returning to contention in 2025 is a bigger priority than making up the numbers in 2024.

“I would take a slightly more optimistic view of the capacity to bounce because they’ve got two Ashcrofts and a Coleman,” Whateley said on SEN Mornings.

“They’re getting a look at some young talent now, so I wonder, ‘What’s the purpose of the back end of the season?’.

“You don’t give up, but I would reframe the back end of the season.

“It’s, ‘What sets us up for next year instead of the tooth and nail struggle to finish seventh?’.

“‘What in the back end of the season around our programme, around our style and around our personnel … what can we do to set us up for the bounce?’. It’s working on the basis that, ‘No, our time is not done, this is the gap year, and these are all the reasons you don’t have to agree with us’.

“I wouldn’t get into the tooth-and-nail struggle to finish seventh. I’d get into the, ‘What sets us up for the bounce in Round 1, 2025?’.”

With Brisbane now taking the week off with the Round 12 bye, Whateley thinks now is the time to change the approach and potentially change the style that the team is playing with to see if they can uncover some new tricks.

He also urged the selection committee to prioritise youth to see if they have other players that can make their Round 1, 2025 team.

“How does it look? That would be my question. You can only do that at a bye, and now is the bye,” he said.

“If you’re talking about a tweak in style, if there’s been any thought in their brains trust around, ‘Ok, let’s have a look at it. Let’s have a look for a four-week patch if we made this adjustment to what is our core of playing’.

“I wouldn’t waste the back end of the season in the tooth-and-nail struggle to finish seventh.

“There were six youngsters in there yesterday. I’d be prioritising which ones of them are in contention for our best team next year, let’s not waiver on them.

“Maybe give them some added responsibility along the way where you prioritise him (a youngster) over the 150-game player who you well know.”

Brisbane next play after the bye in Round 13 when they meet the Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium.

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