The exodus of young talent from Brisbane is a strong warning to the club that its culture has slipped, putting its status as an attractive AFL destination under threat, according to retired legend Simon Black.
Black, who is expected to accept an assistant coaching role at the Lions under former teammate Justin Leppitsch, said he took personal responsibility as a senior player for the crucial loss of talent from the rebuilding side.
Young guns Elliot Yeo (West Coast), Jared Polec (Port Adelaide) and Sam Docherty (Carlton) were all granted trades back to their home States yesterday, while Billy Longer wants to join St Kilda and Patrick Karnezis is being linked to Collingwood and North Melbourne.
Black hoped it would force the club to immediately strengthen its culture and improve areas such as players' living arrangements. He said the Lions should use Sydney as a role model.
"We as a whole club have to take a bit of responsibility for it," Black said.
"There is obviously this go-home mentality that exists in Brisbane, there's no doubt about that, and we're still seen as the back blocks of the AFL.
"There are probably several reasons why we've dropped the ball a bit in not retaining some of those guys and that's really disappointing.
"There are no major issues, but the playing group needs to be tighter.
"You look at the Swans and you can tell they're really, really tight.
"There's a responsibility on the senior group to build that."
Black was particularly disappointed by the departure of WA product Yeo to West Coast, declaring him a budding star.
"He's had a super year for us and he's going to have a big future," Black said.
"The Eagles have done really well because he's a beauty."
Black vowed to use his new position to help the Lions back up the ladder and to decide whether he wanted a career in coaching.
He said Leppitsch had returned from an assistant coaching job under Damien Hardwick at Richmond with his football knowledge vastly enhanced.
"He showed me part of his coaching presentation the other day and I said to him, 'Geez, Lep, I'm not sure you could have even turned a computer on when you left here six years ago'," Black joked.
"I won't say I know he's going to be the bloke because time will tell on that. But I'm excited by it and I've always been a fan of his knowledge of the game and the way he builds relationships and communicates.
"Just talking to him over the last couple of weeks, I know he's got some exciting ideas on the way the game should be played."It will be fresh and new."