TOM Rockliff is a confrontational leader, but the right man to captain the Brisbane Lions next season, according to the club's best and fairest winner Dayne Zorko.
Rockliff's place at the Lions – as both a player and captain – has been at the centre of much speculation in recent weeks, but vice captain Zorko was emphatic in his support.
While the rest of the club begins a transformation that will include a new coach, football manager and likely board members, Zorko says the captaincy shouldn't change hands.
"I understand Tom's captaincy has come under a little bit of scrutiny and the way he leads has come under a little bit of scrutiny, but I think he's the right man to lead this club going forward," Zorko said.
"I think Tom just hits blokes between the eyes, and I understand there's a generation where that's past a bit where you can no longer hit players between the eyes, but I absolutely love the way he leads.
"The passion that he has for the club and the care he has for the players really is first class.
"That's something I relish when I take the field with Tom.
"I feel a stronger person when Tom's in charge of our side."
At the press conference following coach Justin Leppitsch's sacking, CEO Greg Swann left the door open for a change in captain, saying "everything" was open for discussion.
Rockliff was endorsed by his teammates at the Lions' Club Champion dinner on Saturday night, winning the Players' Player award.
His acceptance speech was flat and a touch sombre – perhaps reflecting a three-win season – where he apologised to members for some of the performances and finished by saying: "We'll stick together and we need to do that as a football club".
The Lions are expected to confirm the sub-committee to appoint their coach early in the week, with an experienced football manager – possibly either Neil Balme or David Noble – to be announced shortly after.
"Going on a break is a good freshen up for everyone to sit back, let the hierarchy of the club take control, with the AFL, to help as much as possible to get some really senior, experienced, well-known AFL people in our club to help rebuild the Lions and get us back up the ladder like the early 2000s," Zorko said.