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Lions to play hardball on players who want out

Michael Whiting  September 10, 2013 7:00 AM

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Patrick Karnezis has already asked for a trade home to Melbourne

THE BRISBANE Lions will play hardball with any young players wanting to leave the club.
 
Still searching for a coach to replace Michael Voss, the Lions are also in the midst of fighting to keep a number of out-of-contract young players.
 
Patrick Karnezis has already asked for a trade home to Melbourne – and did not attend Friday night's best and fairest dinner – while Sam Docherty, Billy Longer (both Victorian), Jared Polec (SA) and Elliot Yeo (WA) also remain unsigned.
 
All are believed to be seriously exploring the option of asking for a trade to their home states.
 
All five players are top-30 picks from the last three NAB AFL Drafts.
 
General manager of football operations Dean Warren said they were all required players at the Lions.
 
"It's a concern, I'll be honest," Warren told AFL.com.au.
 
"Sometimes to get back to your preference isn't easy. We're certainly not going to be giving them away.
 
"They're required players and we'll be doing what's best for our footy club in trying to retain their services. If they do go, we need to get fair value for them and look after our needs.
 
"With some of them, a very, very good deal needs to get done for that to happen."

While Karnezis seems hell-bent on leaving regardless, the other quartet are undecided.
 
Warren said he was particularly hopeful of having Yeo re-signed sooner rather than later. The West Australian is currently in his home state on holiday.
 
Yeo (19 games) and Docherty (13) were senior regulars this season, while ruckman Longer (nine games in two seasons) is still developing, and Polec (16 games in three seasons) has been often hampered by injuries.
 
Warren said homesickness was a factor, particularly with those not playing regular senior football.
 
He said not having a senior coach was also difficult when it came to negotiating player retention.
 
Warren is the chair of the coaching selection panel and said the Lions were hoping to make their decision before the trade and free agency periods began in October.
 
The first round of interviews will finish this week.
 
"It'd make it easier (to negotiate with players) if we did have a new coach, no doubt about that," he said.
 
"Waiting for the new coach isn't necessarily what they're waiting for though.
 
"We're not going to rush it. It's heading into an important period … and those young guys out of contract we'd like the coach to talk to."
 
Twitter: @AFL_mikewhiting