Tom Rockliff has had a good start to the 2017 season.
Tom Rockliff has had a good start to the 2017 season. JULIAN SMITH

Conversation which sparked form turnaround for Rockliff

BRISBANE coach Chris Fagan has revealed details about the "uncomfortable conversation" he had with former captain Tom Rockliff that has led to the midfielder's form spike in 2017.

Having lost the captaincy over the summer following speculation Rockliff was angling for a move away from the Lions, the 27-year-old has hit the ground running this season.

Averaging 31.2 disposals per game throughout the first five weeks, Rockliff ranks inside the top 10 in the competition for disposals, clearances, contested possessions and tackles.

It's a far cry from the player who was much maligned last season due to widespread speculation about infighting with teammates - something Fagan brought up with him in their first meeting.

"It was a pretty hard conversation that we had the first time I met him, because I just told him all of the things I'd heard about him," Fagan told Fox Sports News' Game Day Live.

"(It wasn't) what I thought about him, just what I'd heard about him, so that was an uncomfortable conversation.

"But I said to him that day: 'Okay, we've got that on the table, let's move forward now and you get the chance for a fresh start.'

"He's taken that and he's a good man - I've got no doubt about that. He couldn't be any more supportive of myself and the other coaches and what we're trying to do at the club.

"I can see him growing as a person every day."

Rockliff was linked to Collingwood, St Kilda and Adelaide during last year's trade period, with his future likely to again be in the headlines later this season.

Coming out of contract at the end of 2017, Fagan is hopeful he will remain with the Lions and stay a one-club man throughout his career.

"Absolutely (we want him to stick around)," Fagan said.

"I hope Tommy is a one-club player and plays 200 to 250 games for the Brisbane Lions.

"There's no reason why he shouldn't."

News Corp Australia

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