#11 – BRISBANE LIONS
Before there was the Crows or Power, to watch the AFL while retaining hatred for all things Victorian you had to go for either the Bears (that’s Brisbane for you young’ns) or Eagles & with Queensland stock in my blood it was the Bears all the way since 1987. And sure, for a long time they were basically nicknamed the ‘drop’ bears because wins were mythical and it was hard to fall any further, when in 1996 we merged with
Victorian powerhouse successful football club Alistair Lynch & the spuds of Fitzroy, the sky was the limit.
From 1991, probably the saddest Footy Record ever, for numerous reasons. Also, be on the lookout for a terrifying half-man, half-magpie creature. Probably middle-aged by this point. May answer to, ‘Nathan’.
And that’s where the team went. Inspired by one of history’s best midfields, the newly-formed Lions became the first club to win back-to-back-to-back premierships since Hawthorn in 2015 (patent pending).
While the 2003 Grand Final thrashing of Collingwood would be a close second, I can’t go past my greatest memory being an injured Michael Voss, the Captain of all Captains, coming on injured in the 3rd quarter of the 2002 Grand Final to inspire his team and push the Lions over the top to take the flag! It was a thing of beauty. My all-time favourite player being the one to drive the premiership home made it even better. Brownlow medallist, greatest Captain of Lions history & inspirational coach (too far? Too far). The only memory that could come close would be the profound, dignified and thoughtful retirement of Alistair Lynch, below.
Most interesting player?
Daniel Merrett has spent his off-season drinking Pina Coladas & getting caught in the rain. He’s not into yoga & has approximately half a brain. And ladies he’s single!
Also, I would guess nobody is really monitoring his Wikipedia page, except possibly some guy he went to school with called Nicholas Braid.
Most hateable player?
Dayne Beams is an exciting new add on the field, but what will he do as a first option? What will he do without Dane Swan to mimic? Will he still be so easy to dislike out of the prison bar outfit? I’m predicting yes.
The Norwood phenomenon James Aish is a dual SANFL premiership winner & primed for a big year. If there’s one thing better than a speedy, skilled rover playing for Brisbane, it’s a skilled speedy former Redleg rover playing for Brisbane.
Tom Rockliff has taken the last two best and fairest & is primed for another this year if he can keep Daniel Rich off of his heels.
Jonathan Brown. Oh wait, we’re not paying you millions of dollars to be injured 1/3 of games, not really try another 1/3 of games, and play so well in the remaining games that it frustrating you don’t bring it all the time? I’m not bitter…
(Editor’s note: Or rational. It’s not like Browny inspired a generation of footballers or anything. Go on, mock the injured hero, the guy who’s already reminiscing about his career like the very elderly. Can’t wait to spend ANZAC Day with you at the Veteran’s Home.)
What to expect when you’re expecting a flag
It’s now been more than 10 years since Brisbane has been in a Grand Final. Many teams have had worse droughts, but it’s starting to get fans itchy.
With Daniel Rich & Jack Redden coming back, the addition of Dayne Beams and Allen Christensen, and league leading ball-winner Tom Rockliff there’s potential for Brisbane’s midfield to be phenomenal. Too much to ask for them to be Geelong circa 2011? Geelong circa 2015 at least?
So, what to realistically expect from the Brisbane Lions? After a mere decade of rebuilding, Brisbane are finally ready to make a run at the top 10 – bearing in mind that the AFL only has a top 8 – and a near miss from the finals will be a stellar performance from the young team. As per usual I’m expecting a slow start from the young team, but you can always count on them to pick up some wins when they’re firmly out of the finals race.
There’s not much chance the mighty Lions are actually winning the premiership this year. But, to quote the great poet Wesley Snipes “The sun even shines on a dog’s ass some days”. Go Brisbane!