Lions keen to keep Brennan in Brisbane - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lions keen to keep Brennan in Brisbane

By Laine Clark 16/10/2007 04:39:16 PM Comments (0)

A slip of the tongue revealed Lions coach Leigh Matthews had more than just his prized AFL trade week pick-up on his mind when he officially unveiled Travis Johnstone in Brisbane.

Matthews was chuffed with securing Melbourne's 2005 best and fairest and clearly relished adding him to an already stellar Lions midfield.

But Matthews unwittingly took the focus off Johnstone and squarely on the tug of war over off-contract Lions star Jared Brennan with an unprovoked mention of the player on everyone's lips.

Asked what Johnstone could provide for the Lions, Matthews said: "One thing we know for certain is that when Jared, er, Travis has got the ball in his hands he uses it really well."

Brennan has reportedly asked for better financial terms on his next deal otherwise he will enter the pre-season draft.

He looked to have finally ditched his "mercurial" tag with a largely consistent 2007 including a seven-goal haul in Brisbane's 93-point thrashing of eventual preliminary finalists Collingwood.

As a result he has no shortage of admirers.

No.1 draft pick holder Richmond is said to be keen and Brennan reportedly expressed interest in heading to his childhood heroes Essendon (No.5 pick).

He has also been linked to Western Bulldogs, Carlton and Melbourne.

"At the moment everyone who is on our list we are hoping will be on our list (in 2008)," Matthews said when talk inevitably turned to Brennan.

"Unless someone has signed a contract then the ball is in their court.

"We are hopeful. There were clubs asking about Jared, Essendon certainly was.

"But Jared never said to us 'I want to be traded'. That never happened."

But Matthews was vague when asked if Brisbane had a deadline for securing Brennan's future.

"There's no time frame from our point of view except there is ongoing dialogue," he said.

However, the Lions mentor didn't hide his frustration over the off-season feeding frenzy his off-contract stars had caused, taking a shot at several Melbourne clubs.

Rhan Hooper, Troy Selwood and Josh Drummond were linked to Melbourne clubs before finally re-signing with the Lions last week.

"We think Melbourne clubs did a draft on our uncontracted players," Matthews said.

"Richmond got Rhan Hooper, Essendon got Jared, Carlton got Drummo and the Kangaroos got Troy Selwood - each of those four clubs attacked those four players as a recruiting priority.

"Three have recommitted and we are hoping the fourth one will.

"But you can't do much about that. The competition enables clubs to go poaching - we prefer to try and develop our own."

Matthews was largely happy with the result of Brisbane's AFL trade week negotiations in which ruckman Cameron Wood went to Collingwood in a trade for pick 14 and midfielder Richard Hadley went to Carlton in exchange for pick 52.

"We very rarely push players out in all honesty. Two players asked to be traded - Wood and Richard Hadley," Matthews said.

Matthews was apparently unimpressed that a fit again Hadley wanted out after the Lions had nursed him through two consecutive knee reconstructions.

But asked of Hadley, Matthews said: "Yeah it was (disappointing) but he's gone now - he's a Carlton player."

However, nothing could take the shine off Johnstone's arrival for Matthews.

Johnstone - who played 160 games in 10 years with the Demons - headed to the Lions in a trade for pick 14.

He follows in the footsteps of his grandfather, Fitzroy 1947 best-and-fairest and Lions Team of the Century member Norman Johnstone.

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