Brisbane Lions

Infobox australian football club
clubname = Brisbane Lions


fullname = Brisbane Lions Australian Football Club
nicknames = The Lions
season = 2008
position = 10
topgoalkicker = Daniel Bradshaw
bestandfairest = Jonathan Brown ("incumbent")
founded = 1996
colours = Marooncolor box|Maroon, Goldcolor box|Gold and Bluecolor box|Blue(Red is worn instead of maroon when playing in Victoria. This is done to represent Fitzroy Football Club)
league = Australian Football League
chairman = Tony Kelly
coach = Michael Voss
captain = Jonathan Brown Simon Black Luke Power
ground = Brisbane Cricket Ground (GABBA)
ground2 =
ground3 =
capacity = 42,000
capacity2 =
capacity3 =
url = [http://www.lions.com.au www.lions.com.au]

Brisbane Lions Australian Football Club (the trading name for the "Brisbane Bears-Fitzroy Football Club") is an Australian Football League club based in Brisbane, Queensland. They are the most successful AFL team this century, having won three consecutive Grand Finals, and appeared in a fourth.

The Lions are the only AFL club permanently based in Queensland.

Club history

The club was formed from the post-1996 merger of the Brisbane Bears and Fitzroy, and is known as the "Brisbane Lions". The side plays its home games at the Brisbane Cricket Ground (also known as the Gabba).

Background to the merger

On 4 July 1996 the Australian Football League (AFL) approved the first ever club merger in Victorian Football League (VFL) and AFL history, between the Fitzroy Lions and the Brisbane Bears.

The combination of the two clubs led to the creation of a great team. The Bears were on the rise and had lost the Preliminary final to the eventual Premiers, North Melbourne in 1996, while Fitzroy, despite having finished as wooden spooner two seasons running, contained a number of promising young players. On 4 July 1996 it was decided that the Brisbane Lions would be created. The Brisbane Lions were officially launched on 1 November 1996, joining the national competition in 1997. The push for the team was made mostly by a local Brisbane resident, Peter Ferrante.

Post Merger

In their first year as the Brisbane Lions they made the finals but despite a talented playing list, the club finished last the following year, resulting in the sacking of coach John Northey with eight rounds of the season remaining. Over the summer, the club hired Leigh Matthews, who in 1990 delivered Collingwood its only premiership since 1958.

Matthews, voted the player of the century in 2000, played his entire career with Hawthorn during the club's most successful period and brought many of the Hawthorn disciplines to the Lions game. Within a season he led them from the bottom of the ladder to 4th, losing to the eventual premiers the Kangaroos in the preliminary final, before placing 5th in 2000.

2001 - First premiership

The club won its first AFL premiership by defeating Essendon 15.18 (108) to 12.10 (82) in the 2001 AFL Grand Final. Lions utility player Shaun Hart won the Norm Smith Medal as best on ground in the Grand Final. On the morning after winning the flag, the club took the premiership cup to the Brunswick Street Oval in Fitzroy, the original home of the Fitzroy Football Club. It was an important way of connecting with Melbourne-based Lions fans, many of whom had previously supported Fitzroy, and of winning over disaffected Fitzroy fans who had not started supporting the Brisbane Lions post-merger by honouring the history of the club. The Premiership Cup then made its historic first trip to Brisbane, a traditionally rugby league focused city.

In the same year, Brisbane Lion (and former Bear) midfielder Jason Akermanis won the league's highest individual honour, the Brownlow Medal.

2002 - Back-to-back premierships

In 2002, the Lions won back-to-back premierships when they defeated Collingwood 9.12.66 to 10.15.75 in the 2002 AFL Grand Final in cold and wet conditions at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Early in the contest the Lions lost both ruckman Beau McDonald and utility player Martin Pike (who had already amassed 9 possessions in the first quarter) to injury and had to complete the match with a limited bench. Despite not scoring a goal in the first quarter, the undermanned Lions overcame a spirited Collingwood in the closest Grand Final in 15 years. Controversy surrounded the awarding of the Norm Smith medal for best player in the Grand Final to Collingwood captain Nathan Buckley. The voting panel cast its votes 20 minutes before the conclusion of the match. However, Lions captain Michael Voss was dominant in the final quarter to lead his team to victory and many speculated that, had voting taken place at the final siren, Voss may have won the award over Buckley. The voting procedure was changed for subsequent Grand Finals.

In the same year, Brisbane Lion midfielder Simon Black won the Brownlow Medal for best and fairest player of the 2002 season.

In 2002, former Brisbane lawyer, Michael Bowers became Chief Executive Officer, as part of a move to turn around the Club's problematic finances. Fact|date=September 2008

2003 - Three peat

In 2003, the Brisbane Lions became the first Grand Final participant in AFL history to have three Brownlow Medallists in its lineup, the 3 being 1996 winner Michael Voss, 2001 winner Jason Akermanis and 2002 winner Simon Black.

With a number of players under an injury cloud, and having lost to Collingwood in a semi-final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground two weeks previously, the Lions went into the game as underdogs. However, they sealed their place in history as an AFL dynasty by thrashing the Magpies in cool but sunny conditions. At one stage in the final quarter the Lions lead by almost 80 points before relaxing when the match was well and truly won and allowing Collingwood to score the last 4 goals. The final score of 20.14.134 to 12.12.84, saw the club become only the third in AFL history to win three consecutive Premierships and the first to do so since Melbourne in 1957. Simon Black claimed the Norm Smith Medal with a dominant 39 possession match, the most possessions ever gathered by a player in a Grand Final. Fact|date=June 2008

2004

In 2004, the Lions fell just short in its quest for a fourth consecutive flag, losing to Port Adelaide in the 2004 AFL Grand Final. At the twenty minute mark of the third quarter, the Lions led, but were over-run by a fresher Port Adelaide which had two additional days to prepare for the match as a result of playing their preliminary final on a Friday night.Fact|date=April 2008

Despite requests for fair treatment, the Lions were forced to play its preliminary final against Geelong at the MCG on the following evening, despite the club having fairly earned the right to stage a home final. This resulted in Brisbane travelling home to prepare for the grand final on the Sunday morning while their grand final opponents Port Adelaide, a team which in fact had earned the two extra days preparation because of their finishing minor premiers, were into their second recovery day. That may have became a telling factor during the final 30 minutes of the premiership decider.Fact|date=April 2008

During this four year period, the Brisbane Lions became the most dominant team of the modern era. Many purists have argued that in the time of salary cap and a player draft specifically designed to assist the weaker clubs, not to mention the travel demands of modern football, the performance of the Brisbane Lions during this period is unequalled by any club in history including the Collingwood side which claimed four consecutive flags in the late 1920s, and the Melbourne side which won 5 out of 6 premierships from 1955-1960.Fact|date=April 2008

2005

The Brisbane Lions finished runner up in the NAB pre-season cup, and then went on to create history by being the first team in the history of the AFL to have 5 co-captains. They started the season with a convincing 25-point win over Hawthorn, 9.15.(69) to 6.8.(44) and a massive win, after tributes to former captain, Michael Voss, against the St. Kilda Football Club, with a 52 point margin.

On Sat 12 May, the Lions marked Leigh Matthews' 200th game in charge of the team against the Crows

On Saturday 19 May, against Mal Michael's new team, the Essendon Bombers, the Lions began confidently, but eventually succumbed to their biggest loss in season 2007, by a margin of 64 points. The Lions lost to Collingwood by 33 points at the Gabba in Round 9 and drew with Richmond at Telstra Dome with the final scores 10.13 (73)-apiece.

On Thursday 7 June Lions co-captain Simon Black and former Lions captain Michael Voss were charged an assault that allegedly took place on the eve of the 2006 AFL Grand Final. [ [http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/news/afl/voss-black-and-gehrig-face-court/2007/06/06/1181089187691.html Voss, Black and Gehrig face court - AFL - Sport - brisbanetimes.com.au ] ] Against Jason Akermanis' new side, the Western Bulldogs, in Round 11, the Lions yet again began confidently, kicking the first two goals of the game before being overrun. The Lions did failed to score a goal in the second quarter but came back in the last to reduce the margin to 23 points, holding the Bulldogs goalless in the final term. Akermanis kicked two consecutive goals in the first quarter to take the margin out to 15 and 21 points respectively.

At a rainy Skilled Stadium two weeks later, the Lions failed to score a goal in the first half and never looked like coming back, going down to their second biggest loss of the season so far. On 30 June, Brisbane faced Port Adelaide and led by seven points at quarter time before being overrun in the second, the Power booting 7 goals to 2 to lead by 19 points at half-time. At three-quarter time, the Lions were down by 28 points and 40 points a few minutes early into the final term before they fought back to level the scores at 105-all courtesy of a Jonathan Brown from a free kick. A minute later, a 50-metre penalty gifted Port Adelaide's Brett Ebert a goal and managed to hold on for a 7-point win.

The Lions then took on West Coast at Subiaco Oval. The Lions started off well but West Coast took a 10-point lead at quarter time and seven at half time. The Lions clicked into gear in the third term, kicking five goals to two to take an unlikely 11-point lead at three-quarter time. They kicked 3 goals to 1 in the final quarter to create the year's biggest upset with a 27-point win. Brisbane followed that up a week later with a convincing 44-point win over Melbourne at The Gabba.

On 22 July, the Lions faced a struggling Carlton Blues side who were on the back of a 62-point thrashing to Sydney the previous week. Brisbane kicked 8.5-0.3 in the last quarter, the final margin being 117 points, Brisbane's biggest ever win over Carlton, bettering their 103-point loss to Carlton in Round 10, 1987. Also, gun forward Jonathan Brown became the first player in Brisbane Lions/Brisbane Bears history to kick 10 goals in a match, beating Brad Hardie (1989) and Daniel Bradshaw (2005) who both kicked nine goals. This resulted in the sacking of the opposition coach after a run of poor results.

In Round 17, the Lions celebrated their return to the Melbourne Cricket Ground with a 93 point defeat of Collingwood. Jared Brennan played the best game in his 54 game career, scoring 7 goals and 5 behinds. The Lions played second-placed Kangaroos the following week in a scrappy contest at the Gabba, holding the Roos goalless in the first quarter before eventually going on to win 10.17 (77) to 5.10 (40), lifting them into the top eight for the first time since round 7. The Lions got off to a good start against Hawthorn the following week, leading by 15 points before trailing by five points thanks to a Tim Boyle goal after the quarter time siren. Jonathan Brown kicked Brisbane's only four goals in the second quarter before a Lance Franklin goal after the half-time siren reduced the Lions' lead to just five points before the Hawks broke away to a 28-point three-quarter time time lead. The Lions just couldn't come back and lost by 24 points.

Rhan Hooper received a 3 match ban for striking Hawthorn's Rick Ladson, Joel Macdonald and Troy Selwood missed the must-win clash against Sydney. Brisbane started off well with Richard Hadley booting the first goal of the game but poor kicking and too many turnovers saw them trail by 10 points at quarter-time before Jonathan Brown evened the scores at 24-all at half-time. The Lions failed to score a goal in the third time-scoring 0.3 to the Swans' 3.5. However, they jumped straight out of the blocks in the first 3 minutes, with Jonathan Brown putting the Lions in front with his second for the night. But with less than four minutes remaining, Brett Kirk thought he'd won the game for Sydney only for Jonathan Brown to kick a 55-metre goal just before the full-time siren to secure a 9.9 (63) to 8.15 (63) draw.

The Lions failed to make the finals for a third successive year and lost Chris Johnson and Chris Scott to retirement. Youngster Cameron Wood was traded to Collingwood in exchange for Pick 14, which the Lions gave to Melbourne for Travis Johnstone. On the last day of the 2007 trade week, Richard Hadley was traded to Carlton for pick #52.

2008

Individual awards

Best and Fairest
Merrett-Murray Medal

Rookies

Bold text means the players have played in at least one AFL Grand Final.

Notable past players

Club jumpers

These are the jumper designs used in the 2007 season. The club's current major sponsor is now Vodafone.
*The clash jumper is used against teams (often Essendon or Melbourne) with similar designs/colour to the club's home jumper.
*In Round 7 of the 2007, the Lions opted to wear the clash guernsey at home to Adelaide. It was decided that both Adelaide's normal and clash guernseys would be difficult to distinguish from Brisbane's regular guernsey.
*In the second half of season 2007, Brisbane wore a replica of the Fitzroy jumper of the 1990s during matches in Melbourne. On May 1, 2008 they released a jumper to be worn during all matches in Melbourne (unless there is a clash). This jumper is the same basic design as the home jumper, but the maroon is changed to Fitzroy's red and the collar and cuffs are blue, not yellow.

Club Mascot

The Lion's Mascot Manor representative and club mascot is Bernie "Gabba" Vegas, a caricature of a lion dressed in Brisbane Lions jumper, sunglasses, wide lapels and flares, designed to resemble Elvis Presley.

See also

* Australian rules football in Queensland
* Merrett-Murray Medal
* List of prominent Brisbane Lions supporters
*

Sources

* [http://www.thesundaymail.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5936,19796759%255E2764,00.html "Arrested Development"] , "The Sunday Mail"', 15 July 2006. Retrieved 15 July 2006, no longer available.
* [http://canberra.yourguide.com.au/detail.asp?class=sport&subclass=afl&story_id=494600&category=Afl&m=7&y=2006 "Canberra fans get a free kick in the guts after AFL drops the ball"] , The Canberra Times, 14 July 2006. Retrieved 16 July 2006
* [http://afl.com.au/default.asp?pg=news&spg=display&articleid=282468 "Crows No. 1"] , Australian Football League website, retrieved 20 July 2006.
* * [http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/sport/afl/gameday/0,,5015533,00.html "Eagles grab victory over Lions"] , Herald Sun website, Retrieved 24 March 2008.

External links

* [http://www.lions.com.au/ Official Website of the Brisbane Lions Football Club]
* [http://lions.com.au/default.asp?pg=lionshistory&spg=overview The Brisbane Lions - an Overview] - Official AFL website of the Brisbane Lions Football Club]
* [http://www.bigfooty.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=18 Brisbane Lions Discussion Board] on BigFooty.


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