Positive club culture means Lions stay out of the headlines

Daniel Rich of the Lions after winning the round 23 AFL match between the Brisbane Lions and the Western Bulldogs at The Gabba on September 2, 2012 in Brisbane, Australia.
Daniel Rich of the Lions after winning the round 23 AFL match between the Brisbane Lions and the Western Bulldogs at The Gabba on September 2, 2012 in Brisbane, Australia. Chris Hyde / Getty Images

A string of alcohol-fuelled incidents over the Christmas break left several AFL clubs in damage control.

Collingwood and the Gold Coast each saw one of their players charged by police, while Melbourne faced the embarrassment of seeing television footage of their players being removed from the Boxing Day Test.

Speaking from the first day back at training yesterday, Brisbane midfielder Daniel Rich said he believed it was a measure of the culture at the club, plus the maturity of the younger players, that meant the Lions had not made the headlines for the wrong reasons.

"The good thing has been that we had no issues over the break," he said.

"It's been a focus here at the Lions that you train hard and prepare well and when you have a break you don't do anything stupid.

"I can't speak for other clubs, but we have had a good attitude over the break, and not got into trouble which has obviously been seen at other clubs."

Rich said the players wanted to emulate that off-field respect on game days this season.

The club made good progress last year, finishing with 10 wins including the scalps of finalists Adelaide and West Coast.

He said winning enough games to play finals was the best way to win respect on the field.

The former West Australian said the biggest change in the off-season had been the way the younger players had stepped up at training.

"There's a lot more input from the younger players, guys like Mitch Golby, Ryan Harwood, Claye Beams and Rohan Bewick," Rich said.

"The young guys are really training well ... running really well, pushing the older guys to lift," Rich said.

Topics:  afl alcohol aussie rules brisbane lions christmas

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