The Roar
The Roar


'Just bulls--t': Lions deny reports of player rift despite crisis meeting as details of wild end-of-season Vegas trip emerge

Autoplay in... 6 (Cancel)
Up Next No more videos! Playlist is empty -
29th March, 2024
4668 Reads

Brisbane CEO Greg Swann has denied the ugly fallout after an end-of-season trip to Las Vegas is behind the Lions’ horror start to 2024, as details emerge of a crisis meeting held by the club on Friday.

According to reports from 3AW and the Herald Sun, the trip, a traditional one for football clubs in the off-season, had messy consequences when a WhatsApp group chat was accidentally uploaded to iCloud by one of the travelling party and was seen by their partner, and then shared with other partners.

The group consisted of around 10 members, according to reports, with the majority of them Lions players, who had travelled around the USA before finishing in Vegas.

According to 3AW’s Sam McClure, who first broke the story, the revelation has caused ‘a few headaches’, but added that the Lions had been adamant the trip has had ‘zero impact on their poor start to the year’.

“Certain information got home to loved ones that didn’t go down too well,” McClure said.

“It’s caused rifts in some relationships, it’s caused other relationships to end between players and partners, and there’s even suggestions put to me today that it’s caused some tough conversations to be had between teammates as to what went on on that US trip.

“They’re human beings, they’re thrust into a team together, there’s 40 blokes on a list. If there are issues between some of them, or issues between some of their partners, it’s going to cause some sort of discomfort. Whether that translates onto the field, only they would know.”


Also speaking on 3AW, former Essendon great Matthew Lloyd said off-field friction, as well as rifts in the playing group, could have disastrous consequences for the Lions’ spluttering season.

“How you’re going in your home life is so much about how your football goes,” Lloyd said.

“If you’re happy at home, and you’re going really well and you’ve got a great support network, it helps you play good footy.

“If you’re going home and suddenly you’re in a relationship, you’ve got your kids at home, you’ve got a partner and then suddenly you’re not, you’re just going home to an empty home and it’s all you’re thinking about, then you’re going to the club and there’s a bit of friction between your teammates, of course it’s going to affect your football.”

Dayne Zorko of the Lions looks dejected after his team's defeat against Melbourne.

(Photo by Albert Perez/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Lloyd added that he’d encountered situations of tension between players as coach of Haileybury College, and said the Lions getting everything out in the open in a reported Good Friday crisis meeting was the right way forward.

“I’ve had situations, even at my level, where I get guys in a room and I go ‘okay, I’ve put this forward, now is the time to talk. If you don’t speak now, it’s cowardly, and if you go then and speak again behind that player’s back, well then, what sort of a teammate are you? So let’s address this in the room here and now’,” he said.


“In our situation we’ve been able to move on and still been able to play good football by putting it out there.”

However, speaking to News Corp, Swann emphatically denied any rifts in the playing group, and said the club had well and truly put the matter behind them.

“If the question is, ‘Is there a split in a group?’, well no, there isn’t,” Swann said.

“It’s just bulls–t. There’s no split in the group. This [the trip] was in November, by the way. It’s not the reason we’re going no good.

Sports opinion delivered daily 


“We’re not horrible, by the way. It’s just that a few of our good blokes are out of form.


“We asked all the leaders again today and they said, ‘No, there’s nothing in it at all’ in terms of a split in the group.”

Having headed into the season as one of the premiership favourites following their narrow loss to Collingwood in the 2023 grand final, Brisbane have slumped to a 0-3 start, including a 20-point loss to the Magpies at the Gabba on Thursday night.

The defeat was their second in succession at their one-time fortress in 2024, having also given up a 46-point lead to lose a thriller to Carlton in Opening Round; they had gone undefeated at the Gabba throughout 2023.

However, the Lions and coach Chris Fagan have expressed a desire to not ‘catastrophise’ their current malaise.

“We’re zero and three, and there’s 20 games to go,” Fagan said on Thursday night following their loss to the Pies.