Snubbing a ‘slap in the face’ for Lion: Dal

AFL: Brisbane Lion legend Jonathan Brown says he wouldn’t be surprised if Tom Rockliff is reappointed as skipper.

Tom Rockliff will be Brisbane’s vice-captain in 2017. Picture: Colleen Petch

TOM Rockliff’s relegation from Brisbane captain to vice-captain is a “slap in the face” for the maligned midfielder, according to former on-baller Nick Dal Santo.

The Lions announced their new-look seven-man leadership team on Tuesday morning, with Dayne Beams voted in as the club’s new skipper after a player vote held on Monday night.

Despite playing just 18 of a possible 44 games across his first two seasons with the Lions due to injury, Beams was the playing group’s preferred skipper ahead of Rockliff, who will be the club’s vice-captain this year.

Former St Kilda and North Melbourne midfielder Dal Santo admitted he was “surprised” by Beams’ appointment, but said the bigger concern was Rockliff’s demotion.

“He was highly scrutinised for some of his leadership styles previously and if that’s a player vote, they’ve basically said, ‘we didn’t like the way you’ve gone about it previously, and now you’re the (second in charge)’ – I don’t know about that,” Dal Santo told SEN.

Tom Rockliff won’t captain Brisbane in 2017. Picture: Colleen Petch

Tom Rockliff won’t captain Brisbane in 2017. Picture: Colleen PetchSource:News Corp Australia

Dal Santo said he hoped key Lions players and figures had engaged in honest conversations with Rockliff well before Tuesday’s announcement.

“You have to be honest with Tom Rockliff. There’s obviously something that’s not working that they’ve said something needs to change — that’s going to be a little slap in the face,” Dal Santo said.

“I think his football stands up, he gets a lot of the ball and he’s been really consistent for a long period of time.

“It’s more off-field, which is going to be difficult to assess from our point of view, because we are a long, long way away and it’s hard to get insight into football clubs. But it’ll be interesting to see how that plays out this year.”

Dal Santo said he had been impressed by new Lions coach Chris Fagan and that it was clear he had already stamped his authority on the club.

“It’s almost if he’s come in and said something’s not quite right,” Dal Santo said.

“He’s come from an elite, successful football club and I think he’s trying to fill those gaps and replace the missing pieces.”

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