Lions can't hack Akermanis - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lions can't hack Akermanis

By Laine Clark 11/05/2006 05:49:15 PM Comments (0)

The axe has sensationally fallen on Jason Akermanis after the Brisbane Lions' senior players lost patience with the controversial midfielder.

Skipper Michael Voss admits Akermanis' future is in his own hands after the Lions' leadership group decided the former Brownlow medallist should be dropped from Saturday night's AFL clash against Hawthorn for a lack of form and off-field discipline.

"The match committee and leadership group believe that due to his lack of form and his inability to meet team disciplines, standards and expectations we have decided to take this action," Voss said at Lions training, as he read from a statement.

"Aker is still a valued person at the Brisbane Lions ... and an important member of our team but has failed recently to meet team guidelines on and off the field.

"The decision of when he returns will be determined by willingness to embrace our ethos and in no way insinuates anything about his long term future at the club."

The outspoken Akermanis, 28, has never been far from the headlines in his 12-season, 240-game career but this year it has only been for the wrong reasons.

Akermanis earned the ire of Lions mentor Leigh Matthews when he criticised the four-time premiership coach's use of player rotations in a season-opening 77-point loss at Geelong.

His plight wasn't helped by poor on-field form, compounded by a last-round brain explosion that led to the midfielder being booked for striking during the 32-point loss to Sydney.

Voss said the final straw was Akermanis appearing on Channel Ten on Tuesday night and commenting on trade speculation and his icy relationship with Matthews.

Voss said after the Swans game he had warned his teammates not to talk about team issues.

"I asked the group to close down ranks and no-one commenting in the paper other than the guys who have to do press conferences," he said.

"Of course we know what has happened in the last three days. That was something the group wanted to take on board and Aker went outside that - that is something we've tried to take up with him."

Asked if Akermanis' future at Brisbane was in his hands, Voss said: "Yes, it is because we want him in the team, make no mistake about that.

"We are a better team with him in it but at the same time we need some things adhered to and they haven't quite been adhered to and he needs to go back like everybody else would have to in the same circumstances."

Voss said the "very hard" decision to axe Akermanis came down to "90 per cent form and 10 per cent the other stuff".

"At the moment Aker is still a very valuable person in our football club," he said.

"He has taken it on board, taken it on the chin. He's more than prepared to go back and prove his worth once again."

Akermanis, who comes off contract at the end of 2007, recently claimed he did not talk to Matthews.

However, Voss said there was no problem between Akermanis and the veteran coach.

"There's been a lot made of the insinuation that there's been a problem between him and Leigh - I can categorically say that is incorrect," he said.

"Leigh makes decisions based on the team and what the team needs and there is no individual that comes above and beyond that.

"Sometimes he (Matthews) can say things that you think are meant to be personal, and you might get upset by what he says.

"But you know that his role as coach of this football club is to be the leader of the football club and take the team's interest above any individual."

Voss did not want the issue to disrupt their countdown to the must-win Hawks clash at Carrara Stadium.

"As far as we go, beyond this press conference this won't be spoken about - Jason knows the guidelines he has to meet and he wants to meet those."

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