In somewhat unexpected news Josh Schache has committed his future to the Brisbane Lions signing a two year contract extension until the end of 2019.
Drafted with pick 2 in the 2015 draft, the emerging forward was not short of admirers with a host of Victorian clubs keen on securing his services for next year and beyond.
Josh Schache rumours
The rumour mill has certainly been in full swing. Some saying the 19-yeard old would seek a trade back to Victoria. This only intensified when the rising star was granted leave from the Lions to return back home as he struggled with form issues in the first half of the year.
Comments in the last week from Chris Fagan certainly seemed to indicate the club was preparing for the worst. But the re-signing is a massive tick for the Lions and the coach was obviously delighted when the announcement was made.
“I thought there was a chance (he’d leave) There’s always a chance of that. I was always hopeful that he would stay. You never know until they come out with those words so it’s very pleasing.”
The vultures were circling
It is well documented that the Lions have struggled keeping talent at the club in recent years. A mass exodus has seen Jared Polec, James Aish, Sam Docherty, Elliot Yeo and Billy Longer depart since 2013. Players that would be pretty handy in the Lions team right now.
As a result you can understand Brisbane may have been thinking – here we go again with rival clubs ready to pounce on Josh Schache.
Memories of Travis Boak
The Schache contract situation did bring back memories of Travis Boak at Port Adelaide in 2012. Like the Lions currently, Port was struggling both on field and off. During the season, Geelong flew to Adelaide led by Chris Scott, Joel Selwood and Jimmy Bartel. The group of Geelong representatives met with Boak to convince him that his future should be at the Cattery.
It seemed inevitable that Travis Boak would jump a sinking ship but instead the midfielder remained at Alberton. While it has not been all smooth sailing at the Power, it is certainly much more competitive than the dark days of 2012. The club has played Finals football in 2013 & 14 and Travis Boak has captained the club since 2013 with Port appearing on track for a return to Finals football in 2017.
In 2012 many experts thought Port Adelaide had the worst list in the competition. This should give hope to the Lions that things can turn around in a reasonable time frame and player loyalty goes a long way in driving a successful culture.
A line in the sand
Earlier this season, contract extensions for Tom Cutler and Jarrod Berry were completed. While a lot of work is still ahead of Brisbane these contract extensions along with Josh Schache’s are positive steps on Brisbane’s journey to winning back respect in the AFL.
The comments from General Manager of football David Noble certainly emphasise this direction.
“We’re laying the foundations for continued improvement. We want to become relevant again and these signings are recognition of that”
It might not look like it right now with the Lions last on the ladder, but we may very well look back at the Schache signing as the start of Brisbane becoming AFL relevant again.