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Brisbane Lions

Brisbane Lions is a football (soccer) club from Australia.

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About Brisbane Lions

The Brisbane Lions is an Australian rules football club which plays in the Australian Football League (AFL). The club is based in Brisbane, Queensland. The club was formed in 1996 from the merger of the Brisbane Bears and the Fitzroy Lions. It is the most successful AFL club of the last decade (2000–2009), having appeared in four consecutive AFL Grand Finals between 2001 AFL season and 2004 AFL season, winning three premierships (2001, 2002 and 2003).

The club is based at The Gabba and is captained by Jonathan Brown (Australian rules footballer) and coached by Michael Voss, a former captain of the club.

History

On 4 July 1996 the Australian Football League (AFL) approved the first ever club merger in VFL/AFL history. The Brisbane Bears and the Fitzroy Football Club combined to form the Brisbane Lions. The merged entity played its home games at The Gabba.

Prior to the merge the Brisbane Bears had enjoyed a successful season, losing a preliminary final to the eventual premiers, North Melbourne Football Club. In contrast, Fitzroy Football Club had finished in last place for two successive seasons, although they contained a number of promising young players.

The Brisbane Lions were officially launched on 1 November 1996, joining the national competition in 1997.

The Lions: 1997–2000

In their first year in the AFL the Lions made the finals, finishing in eighth position after being defeated by the St Kilda Football Club in a Qualifying Final. The following year, however, they finished in last position, despite boasting a talented playing list. Accordingly, inaugural coach John Northey was sacked with eight rounds remaining in the season. During the off-season the club hired Leigh Matthews, who in 1990 had delivered Collingwood its first premiership since 1958.

Matthews, who was voted "Player of the Century" in 2000, played his entire career with Hawthorn Football Club and brought many of the Hawthorn disciplines to the Lions. Within a season the Lions rose from the bottom of the ladder to 4th, before losing to the eventual Premiers the Kangaroos in the Preliminary Final.

Triple premiership success: 2001–2003

The club won its first AFL Premiership by defeating Essendon Football Club 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 AFL 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.

In 2002, the Lions won back-to-back Premierships when they defeated Collingwood Football Club 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.

Finals misses: 2005–2008

The Lions had an inconsistent season in 2005 and fell away badly towards the end, losing many games by very large margins. This culminated in a record 139-point defeat at the hands of the St Kilda Football Club, whom they previously defeated in Round 1 in a controversial encounter. They finished a disappointing eleventh – out of the Finals for only the second time in the club's history. When able to field its strongest lineup, the Lions produced some strong performance reminiscent of its triple Premiership days. However, injuries to Justin Leppitsch, Jonathan Brown (Australian rules footballer), Nigel Lappin, and the retirements of Premiership players such as Marcus Ashcroft, Alastair Lynch, Martin Pike, Shaun Hart and Craig McRae had taken its toll and the club played more first year players than any other side in the competition.

The Lions began the 2006 AFL Season optimistically, but injuries again plagued the club, whose players recorded an AFL record total of 200 matches lost to injury for the season.

Justin Leppitsch was forced to retire through injury and with season ending injuries to prominent players Nigel Lappin, Chris M. Scott, Ashley McGrath, Richard Hadley, Anthony Corrie and key ruckman Jamie Charman. Coach Leigh Matthews was forced to debut an unprecedented number of youngsters and rookies and due to this, the club experienced inconsistent results. While many of the new youngsters displayed great promise, and continued to attack the ball and tackle opponents in typical Brisbane Lions spirit, it became evident during the final few matches that the young Lions were clearly into rebuilding mode. With AFL Rising Star nominations to Michael Rischitelli, Cheynee Stiller and Matthew Moody, and the emergence of rookie Jason Roe (footballer) among others, the future looks promising, but the realists also know that the rebuilding phase will take a few years.

Despite the young team losing more home games than ever before, and reducing the Gabba's status as a fortress that intimidated opposition teams, the Lions still produced average crowds the equal of the National Rugby League Premiership team Brisbane Broncos.

Justin Leppitsch and Brad Scott (Australian rules footballer) announced their retirements during the season. A controversial and high-profile feud between the club and Jason Akermanis divided supporters of the club and received massive publicity, resulting in Akermanis being stood down for the last seven matches of the season by his senior playing peer group, who felt that his loyalty to the club and playing group was compromised.

After the 2006 home and away season it was revealed that major sponsor AAPT would not be renewing their sponsor (commercial). It was announced shortly after that Vodafone had signed a sponsorship deal with the club worth A$5.4 million over three years.

The Brisbane Lions team of the decade fullback Mal Michael announced his retirement from football on 5 October 2006 due to lack of motivation and desire to pursue other non-football related activities. While at the Lions he was one of the premier fullbacks in the AFL and was somewhat unlucky not to receive an All-Australian honour and was a pivotal figure at the Brisbane Lions, playing a significant role in each of the grand finals contested. In highly controversial circumstances, a contract loophole enabled Michael to sign with the Essendon Bombers and continue his career there.

The captain, Michael Voss, also announced his retirement from football on 6 October 2006 due to the stress placed on his body from years of football and a chronic knee injury. He was the co-captain of the team from 1997 to 2000 with Alastair Lynch before leading the side for the remainder of his career, including the historic three straight premierships. In his final season of football, Voss still played 21 out of a possible 22 games, missing one game through knee soreness which turned out to be the same knee which led to his retirement.

At the completion of the 2006 season Chris L. Johnson remained as the last ever representative of the Fitzroy Football Club to be playing senior AFL football.

The Brisbane Lions finished runner up in the 2007 Australian Football League pre-season competition and then went on to create history by being the first team in the history of the AFL to have five co-captains. They started the season with a convincing 25 point win over Hawthorn Football Club, 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 12 May 2007, the Lions marked Leigh Matthews' 200th game in charge of the team against the Adelaide Football Club

One week later, on 19 May 2007, 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 Football Club by 33 points at the Gabba in 2007 AFL season Round 9 (Indigenous Round) and drew with Richmond Football Club at Docklands Stadium with the final scores 10.13 (73)apiece.

On 7 June 2007 Lions co-captain Simon Black and former Lions captain Michael Voss were charged for an assault that allegedly took place on the eve of the 2006 AFL Grand Final. 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 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 Kardinia Park (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 2007, Brisbane faced Port Adelaide Football Club and led by seven points at quarter time before being overrun in the second, the Power kicking seven goals to two to led 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 (Australian rules footballer) goal 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 seven point win.

On 22 July 2007 the Lions faced a struggling Carlton Football Club side who were on the back of a 62-point thrashing to Sydney Swans 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 (Australian rules footballer) became the first player in Brisbane Lions/Brisbane Bears history to kick 10 goals in a match, beating Brad Hardie (1989 VFL season) and Daniel Bradshaw (2005 AFL season) who both kicked nine goals. This resulted in the sacking of the Denis Pagan 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 Football Club. Jared Brennan played one of the best games in his 54 game career, scoring seven goals and five behinds.

Rhan Hooper received a three match ban for striking Hawthorn's Rick Ladson, Joel Macdonald and Troy Selwood missed the must-win clash against Sydney Swans. 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 L. Johnson and Chris M. Scott to retirement. Youngster Cameron Wood was traded to Collingwood Football Club in exchange for Pick 14, which the Lions gave to Melbourne Football Club for Travis Johnstone. On the last day of the 2007 AFL Draft Trades, Richard Hadley was traded to Carlton for pick 52.

The Lions began the 2008 NAB Cup shakily, losing to Essendon by 27 points. The 2008 home and away campaign started with a game against the West Coast Eagles at Subiaco Oval, in which the Lions lost by 16 points. In their second match at home at the Gabba, the Lions wrestled with an in form Collingwood and eventually triumphed by two points. Jed Adcock scored the winning goal for the Lions. After a 17-point loss to the Sydney Swans the next week (Rivalry Round), the Lions managed a record breaking comeback against Port Adelaide Football Club after turning around a 47-point deficit half way through the third quarter, to come out winners by 20 points by the final siren. The Lions were then defeated by Hawthorn by 12 points followed by a sound victory over Melbourne by 52 points. They suffered another defeat to Geelong by 27 points followed by the Lions' first consecutive wins for the season with wins over Carlton by 33 points and St Kilda by 46 points. This was followed up by wins over North by 31 points and Fremantle by 22 points. The winning streak would eventually be snapped by a defeat from the Bulldogs by 63 points. The team struggled for the rest of the season and missed out on the finals with a 10–12 record, losing 3 games despite having at least 5 more scoring shots in each of those games. Coach Leigh Matthews resigned at the end of the season after 10 seasons and 3 premierships with the club.

Voss arrival: 2009–present



The Lions made a good start in the 2009 NAB Cup under new senior coach Micahel Voss by registering a 9 point win over St Kilda Football Club. However this was followed by a series of losses in the pre-season to Essendon Football Club, Melbourne Football Club and Richmond Football Club. The Lions then began the Premiership season well with wins against recent premiers the West Coast Eagles and hoodoo rivals, the Sydney Swans. However, the Lions lost their strong form against Carlton Football Club with a loss of 19 points. The Lions went on to make the finals for the first time since 2004; in their elimination final against Carlton at the Gabba they trailed by as much as five goals midway through the final quarter but came back and won by seven points. Their season ended abruptly with a 51-point loss to the Western Bulldogs the following week at the MCG.

The 2009/2010 off-season was dominated by the arrival of Brendan Fevola from Carlton, and the hype was focused on Fevola and Jonathan Brown in the sense that the Lions could capitalise on their strong 2009 season. Indeed, the Lions won their first four matches of the 2010 season to be top of the ladder after four rounds, but they would only win three more games after that to crash to a lowly finish by seasons end. One of those wins however, was against eventual premiers .

The Lions' 2010/2011 off-season was disrupted by the sacking of Fevola after just one season at the Lions, following repeated off-field indiscretions which included getting drunk in the Brisbane streets during New Year's Eve celebrations. On the field, the Lions won only four games for the year, but only one against any Victorian team, and that was , in Round 9. Despite their worst season since 1998, coach Michael Voss was granted a contract extension after the board recommended that Voss was the best man to take the club forward into the future. Leading into season 2012, only two players from the triple-premiership winning team of 2001–2003 will remain: Simon Black and Jonathan Brown (Australian rules footballer).

Corporate

Membership base and sponsorship

Crowds and memberships for the Brisbane Lions grew dramatically during the four seasons in which they made the AFL Grand Final. Since then, with the team being less successful, attendances have declined, but have remained stable over the past three seasons. In 2009 the Lions found it so difficult to sell corporate boxes that they resorted to doing so on a game-by-game basis. 2011 saw the Brisbane Lions suffer their worst ever drop in support, as memberships decreased by 28%. Consequently, the Brisbane Lions have the second lowest membership in the AFL.

following finals matches

Financial performance

In 2008 the Brisbane Lions recorded a loss of $2,200,200. CEO Michael Bowers was reported to be "buoyed" when 2009 membership exceeded its 2008 total by 8 April 2009. In 2009 the Brisbane Lions recorded a further loss of $603,207.

Club symbols

Guernseys

The three types of guernsey are:

- Home guernsey (worn since 2010 AFL season): Maroon and blue based guernsey with a lion, coloured gold and maroon. Bank of Queensland sponsor on front and Conergy sponsor on back (home pants worn in home games and away pants worn in away games not played in Victoria).

- Away guernsey (Worn since 2010 AFL season): Red and blue based guernsey with a lion, coloured gold and red. Conergy sponsor on front and Bank of Queensland sponsor on back (away pants worn).

- Clash guernsey (Worn since 2010 AFL season): Maroon, white and blue based guernsey with a lion, coloured gold and maroon. Conergy sponsor on front and Bank of Queensland sponsor on back (away pants worn).

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.

Song

The music of the team song is the same as that of La Marseillaise, the French national anthem.

We are the pride of Brisbane town


We wear maroon, blue and gold


We will always fight for victory


Like Fitzroy and Bears of old


All for one and one for all


We will answer to the call


Go Lions, Brisbane Lions


We’ll kick the winning score


You’ll hear our mighty roar!

Awards and achievements

Team

- AFL Grand Final Appearances

- List of Australian Football League pre-season and night series premiers

- List of Australian Football League wooden spoons: 1 (1998 AFL season)

Individual


Club facts

Premierships
- Australian Football League season 2001
- Australian Football League season 2002
- Australian Football League season 2003

Grand Finalists
- Australian Football League season 2004

Coaches
- John Northey – 1997–1998
- Roger Merrett – 1998
- Leigh Matthews – 1999–2008
- Michael Voss – 2009–present

Captains
- Michael Voss (co-captain: 1997–2000; captain: 2000–2006)
- Alastair Lynch (co-captain: 1997–2000)
- Chris Johnson (Australian footballer, born 1976) (co-captain: 2007)
- Nigel Lappin (co-captain: 2007–2008)
- Simon Black (co-captain: 2007–2008)
- Luke Power (co-captain: 2007–2008)
- Jonathan Brown (Australian rules footballer) (co-captain: 2007–2008; captain: 2009–present)

Biggest home crowds

Players

As of 25 November 2010:

Current coaching staff

- Senior Coach: Michael Voss
- Assistant Coaches:

Notable past players






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