Daniel Rich admits it’s nice to be talking about retentions rather than departures, but warned it’d be foolish to get swept up in the Brisbane Lions’ fresh wave of optimism.
A NAB AFL Rising Star winner in his 2009 debut season, Rich has hung tough while the Lions struggled to be competitive.
But he said the contract extensions of highly rated midfielder Hugh McCluggage and No.1 draft pick Cameron Rayner, who is yet to play a game, means he doesn’t need to dwell on the disappointment any longer.
“In years gone by there’s obviously been a bit spoken about the club and culture of guys coming and going at a young age,” he said.
“That’s a perfect example of where the Club’s heading, that’s just as important (as the wins and losses percentage) in the progression.
The Lions had just five wins in collecting the wooden spoon last season in coach Chris Fagan’s first campaign.
While Josh Schache and Tom Rockliff have both departed since a Sherrin was last kicked at the Gabba, the Club believes their losses have been offset by the arrival of Rayner as well as Charlie Cameron and Luke Hodge.
Contract extensions for Eric Hipwood, Jarrod Berry, Harris Andrews, Ben Keays and most recently McCluggage have Rich thinking the worm has turned.
“Oh yeah, that’s in the past now,” Rich said of the disappointment of seeing good talent depart.
“The good thing is we can talk about things the other way now; he’s (Rayner) obviously one this season but there’s been a lot over the last 18 months so let’s talk about that.”
While Rich says the Club is well progressed from where it was this time last year, the 27-year-old knows better than to start getting carried away.
“You celebrate what needs celebrating and recognise what needs to be recognised, but come January every Club’s flying when there is no win-loss record,” he said.
Source: Brisbane Lions website