OUTGOING Brisbane Lions midfielder Pearce Hanley believes Tom Rockliff hasn't been given adequate support by the club during his captaincy.
Hanley, who joined Gold Coast this week after a three-way trade involving Port Adelaide, told NAB AFL Trade Radio that Rockliff had been unfairly treated by the Lions, and deserved more help from the club if he was to get the best out of himself.
Rockliff has been talked about as a possible trade option for the Lions since the end of the 2016 season, when the club won just three games – a result that saw coach Justin Leppitsch sacked.
The 26-year-old has met with new coach Chris Fagan about his future at the Lions, and looks set to stay in Brisbane, and while Hanley wouldn't elaborate on the areas in which he felt Rockliff was let down by the club, he said if the midfielder got the right backing, he was the man to lead the club going forward.
"I think if Tom (Rockliff) gets the proper support around him from the footy club as a whole, then he's definitely the right person to be captain," he said.
"He's obviously had a tough year and the club itself has had a couple of tough years, so I think Tom has copped the brunt of that in the media.
"I guess someone had to cop it, and unfortunately it was Tom, but I think if he gets the right support he can be very successful.
"Once he gets a full pre-season under his belt look out, because I think he's going to have a very good year."
Hanley was contracted to the Lions until the end of 2019 but went looking for a change after playing 129 matches in nine seasons with the club.
He played 22 games in 2016 but admitted he was well below his best.
The 27-year-old said the Suns had an exciting future, and he wasn't worried about the loss of young midfielders Jaeger O'Meara and Dion Prestia.
"I think there was a few injuries last year, but they'll get a few players back and hopefully I can add to that," he said.
"They're driven and trying to earn the respect of the competition on and off the field, like I am.
"They also have a new facility, which is going to be amazing to work in and try to get the best out of my body.
"I see a bright future at Gold Coast and I see my best football ahead of me.
"Obviously last year was my toughest year because my body was right – I had a few niggles but nothing too hectic – but I was out of form.
"I have very high standards and put a lot of pressure on myself, and that coupled with the bad form meant I just wasn't happy.
"I think this freshen up will do me the world of good."