Brisbane Lions

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For the soccer team formerly known as Brisbane Lions, see Queensland Lions FC.
Brisbane Lions
Brisbane Lions logo
Full name Brisbane Bears-Fitzroy Football Club Limited, Trading as Brisbane Lions Australian Football Club[1]
Nickname(s) Lions
2016 season
Home-and-away season 17th
Leading goalkicker Dayne Zorko & Josh Walker (23)
Best and fairest Dayne Zorko
Club details
Founded 1996
Colours      Maroon,      blue, and      gold
Competition Australian Football League
Chairman Bob Sharpless
CEO Greg Swann
Coach Chris Fagan
Captain(s) Tom Rockliff
Premierships 3[2] (2001, 2002, 2003)
Ground(s) The Gabba (capacity: 42,000)
Training ground(s) The Gabba
Other information
Official website
Current season

The Brisbane Lions are an Australian rules football club which plays in the Australian Football League (AFL). The club is based in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. The club was formed in 1996 from the merger of the Fitzroy Lions and the Brisbane Bears. The Lions are one of the most successful AFL clubs of the 21st century, having appeared in four consecutive AFL Grand Finals from 2001 to 2004 and winning three premierships (2001, 2002 and 2003).

The club is based at The Gabba. The team is captained by Tom Rockliff and coached by Chris Fagan.

History: Start of a new era[edit]

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

Beginnings: 1997–2000[edit]

Brisbane Lions logo from 2001 to 2009

In their first year as a combined club 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.

Triple premiership success: 2001–2003[edit]

As the Brisbane Lions, the club won its first AFL premiership in the 2001 AFL Grand Final, defeating Essendon 15.18 (108) to 12.10 (82).[3] Lions utility player Shaun Hart won the Norm Smith Medal as best on ground in the Grand Final.[4]:521

In 2002, the Lions won back-to-back premierships when they again 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 had nine possessions in the first quarter) to injury and had to complete the match with a limited bench.

With a number of players under an injury cloud – and having lost to Collingwood in a qualifying final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground three 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 led by almost 80 points before relaxing when the match was well and truly won, allowing Collingwood to score the last four goals. The final score of 20.14 (134) to 12.12 (84)[4]:860 saw the club become only the fourth in VFL/AFL history to win three consecutive premierships and the first since the creation of the AFL. 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.[5]

The 2004 season saw Brisbane remain in the top portion of the ladder for most of the season. Reaching the finals in second position, Brisbane controversially had to travel to Melbourne to play against Geelong in the preliminary final, due to a contract between the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) and the Australian Football League (AFL) that required one preliminary final to be played each year at the MCG.[6] Port Adelaide had finished on top of the ladder and hosted the other preliminary final in Adelaide. Despite this setback, Brisbane beat Geelong and reached the AFL Grand Final for the fourth consecutive year. Their opponents, Port Adelaide, playing in their first ever grand final, were too good on the day and recorded a 40-point win.[7]

Rebuild of the Lions' second generation: 2005–2008[edit]

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

The Brisbane Lions finished runner up in the 2007 NAB Cup and then went on to create history by being the first team in the history of the AFL to have five co-captains. That year, the Lions failed to make the finals for a third successive year in 2007.

The Lions began the 2008 NAB Cup shakily, losing to Essendon by 27 points. The team struggled for 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.

Michael Voss: 2009–2013[edit]

The Lions made a good start in the 2009 NAB Cup under new senior coach Michael Voss by registering a 9-point win over St Kilda. However this was followed by a series of losses in the pre-season to Essendon, Melbourne and Richmond. Their season ended with a 51-point loss to the Western Bulldogs.

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 season's end. One of those wins however, was against eventual premiers Collingwood.

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 North Melbourne, 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 remained: Simon Black and Jonathan Brown.

Brendan Fevola became the 1st Coleman Medallist to win the medal at a club and be traded to another the following year. He originally came from Carlton

The 2013 season started well for Brisbane, defeating Carlton in the final of the NAB Cup, with Daniel Rich winning the Michael Tuck Medal for best on ground and Aaron Cornelius showing some good form. However, things began to decline from then, with losses to the Western Bulldogs and Adelaide. However, in the 5th QClash match against Gold Coast, the Lions won by two points, with Jonathan Brown winning the Marcus Ashcroft Medal. Injuries were beginning to take a toll, with young players Claye Beams and Jared Polec suffering severe injuries. In Round 13, Brisbane defeated second-placed Geelong, coming from 52 points down late in the third quarter to win by 5 points due to an Ash McGrath goal after the siren in his 200th match.

On 13 August 2013, coach Michael Voss was told that his contract would not be renewed.[8][9][10][11]

Playing under Justin Leppitsch: 2014–2016[edit]

On 25 August 2013, former premiership player of the Lions, Justin Leppitsch, was confirmed to be the senior coach of the Lions for the next 3 seasons starting in 2014

On 18 October 2013, Brisbane Lions legend Simon Black announced his retirement.

During round 13, 2014 Lions captain Jonathan Brown was the victim of a facial injury in a clash between the Lions and the Greater Western Sydney Giants. He collided with Tomas Bugg's knee and was taken off the ground. He suffered a concussion, which caused his retirement from football. Along with the retirement of Ashley McGrath in August 2014, no active players remain from any of the club's triple-premiership winning sides.[12]

On 29 August 2016, Leppitsch was sacked as coach of the Lions.[13]

Chris Fagan's era: 2017–[edit]

On 4 October 2016, Chris Fagan was announced as the Lions' coach from the 2017 season onwards.[14]


Membership base and sponsorship[edit]

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.[15] 2011 saw the Brisbane Lions suffer their worst ever drop in support, as memberships decreased by 28%.The 2015 season has seen the membership rise to 25,109, a decent figure but still an 18% decrease from the club's peak membership of 30,941 in 2004. Consequently, the Brisbane Lions have the third lowest membership in the AFL.[16]

Year Members Change from previous season Finishing position1 Average home crowd
Profit (Loss) Major Sponsor
1997 19,550 N/A Qualifying Finalist (8th) 24,468 Carlton & United Breweries
1998 16,674 Decrease 571 Wooden spoon (16th) 19,913 Carlton & United Breweries
1999 16,931 Increase 823 Preliminary Finalist (3rd) 21,890 AAPT
2000 20,295 Increase 3,364 Semi-finalist (6th) 27,406 AAPT
2001 18,330 Decrease 1,965 Premiers (2nd) 27,637 AAPT
2002 22,288 Increase 3,958 Premiers (2nd) 26,894 AAPT
2003 25,578 Increase 3,290 Premiers (3rd) 31,717 $2,200,000[18] AAPT
2004 30,941 Increase 5,363 Grand Finalist (2nd) 33,619 AAPT
2005 30,027 Decrease 914 11th 33,266 AAPT
2006 26,459 Decrease 3,568 13th 28,629 AAPT
2007 23,072[19] Decrease 3,387 10th 28,847 $1,058,000[20] Vodafone
2008 23,079 Increase 7 10th 28,127 ($2,200,030)[21] Vodafone
2009 26,324[22] Increase 3,245 Semi-finalist (6th) 29,172 ($603,207)[23] Vodafone
2010 29,014 Increase 2,690 13th 29,933 ($2,713,848)[24] Bank of Queensland, Conergy
2011 20,792[25] Decrease 8,222 15th 20,461 ($1,855,926)[26] Bank of Queensland, Conergy
2012 20,762[27] Decrease 30 13th 20,343 ($2,513,262)[28] Bank of Queensland, Conergy
2013 24,130[29] Increase 3,368 12th 21,083 ($1,574,762)[30] National Storage, Vero Insurance
2014 23,930 Decrease 200 15th 19,735 ($3,543,138)[31] National Storage, Vero Insurance
2015 25,408 Increase 1,478 17th 18,810 ($681,053)[32] National Storage, Vero Insurance
2016 23,286 Decrease 2,122 17th 17,074 Camperdown Dairy International, Vero Insurance

Statistics highlighted in bold denote the best season for Brisbane in that category
Statistics highlighted in italic denote the worst season for Brisbane in that category
1 following finals matches

Non-playing/coaching staff[edit]

Name Position
Greg Swann Chief Executive Officer
Bob Sharpless Chairman
Leigh Matthews Deputy Chairman
Cyril Jinks Directors
Sarah Kelly
Peter McGregor
Mick Power
Cathie Reid
Ross Thornton
Andrew Wellington
David Noble General Manager of Football
Peter Schwab List Manager
Craig Lambert Strategy and Retention Manager
Melissa Lambert Player Welfare Manager
Matthew Francis Football Manager
Damien Austin High Performance Manager
Stephen Conole Senior Recruiting Manager
Andrew Farrell Victoria and South Australia Recruiting Manager
Steele Tallon General Manager of Communications
Dom Fay Match Day MCs
Sammie O'Brien

Club symbols[edit]


The three types of guernsey are:

  • Home guernsey (worn since 2015): Maroon and blue based guernsey with original Fitzroy lion, coloured gold and maroon. Vero Insurance is the sponsor on the front and Camperdown Dairy International is the sponsor on the back (home shorts worn in home games and away shorts worn in away games not played in Victoria). The Lions also wore this jumper from 1997-2009 before switching to a more 'modern' lion.
  • Away guernsey (Worn since 2015): Red and blue based guernsey with original Fitzroy lion, coloured gold and red. Camperdown Dairy International is the sponsor on the front and Vero Insurance is the sponsor on the back (away shorts worn). The Lions also wore this jumper from 2008-2009 before switching to a more 'modern' lion.
  • Clash guernsey (Worn since 2017): Reminiscent of the Bears’ final guernsey, this guernsey features maroon, yellow and white with original Fitzroy lion, coloured maroon and gold. Camperdown Dairy International is the sponsor on the front and Vero Insurance is the sponsor on the back (away shorts worn).


Bernie "Gabba" Vegas

As of 2016 the lions new mascot 'Roy' was introduced. 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.


The club's team song, "The Pride of Brisbane Town", is based on the Fitzroy club song, and is sung to the music of "La Marseillaise", the French national anthem:[33]

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[edit]


Premierships: 3 (2001, 2002, 2003)
Runners-up: 1 (2004)
Premierships: 1 (2013)
Runners-up: 2 (2001, 2007)
Premierships: 3 (2001, 2012, 2013)


Club facts[edit]


Runners Up



Biggest home crowds

Rank Crowd Round, Season Result Opponent Brisbane Lions Opposition Margin Venue Day/Night/Twilight
1 37,224 15, 2005 Win Collingwood 19.19 (133) 7.13 (55) +78 The Gabba Night
2 37,032 PF2, 2001 Win Richmond 20.16 (136) 10.8 (68) +68 The Gabba Night
3 36,803 4, 2003 Win Collingwood 14.11 (95) 11.15 (81) +14 The Gabba Night
4 36,780 2, 2010 Win Carlton 16.11 (107) 12.16 (88) +19 The Gabba Night
5 36,467 3, 2004 Win Collingwood 21.11 (137) 12.5 (77) +60 The Gabba Night
6 36,197 1, 2003 Win Essendon 14.20 (104) 8.13 (61) +43 The Gabba Night
7 36,149 10, 2001 Win Essendon 15.12 (102) 10.14 (74) +28 The Gabba Night
8 36,077 17, 2005 Win Essendon 17.12 (114) 14.17 (101) +13 The Gabba Night
9 35,898 3, 2002 Win Essendon 17.15 (117) 9.13 (67) +50 The Gabba Night
10 35,823 21, 2004 Win St Kilda 20.10 (130) 13.7 (85) +45 The Gabba Day


Current squad[edit]

Brisbane Lions
Senior list Rookie list Coaching staff

Head coach

Assistant coaches

  • Scott Borlace (development coach)
  • Danny Daly (stoppage strategy coach)
  • Murray Davis (transition strategy coach)
  • Mitch Hahn (backline coach)
  • Leigh Harding (development coach)
  • Ben Hudson (ruck/forwards coach)
  • Zane Littlejohn (development coach)
  • Jed Adcock
  • Dale Tapping

  • (c) Captain
  • (vc) Vice captain
  • (B) Category B rookie

Updated: 20 October 2016
Source(s): Senior list, Rookie list, Coaching staff

Reserves team[edit]

The Brisbane Lions have entered a reserves team in the North East Australian Football League (NEAFL) competition since 2011. The club had previously entered a reserves team in the local Queensland Australian Football League in 1998, known as the Lion Cubs but became the Suncoast Lions Football Club in 2004 and were based on the Sunshine Coast. They would win their first premiership in 2001 when they defeated the Southport Sharks in the QAFL Grand Final. A stand-alone Brisbane Lions reserves team was created in 2011 and began playing in the Northern Conference of the North East Australian Football League. In 2012, the Lions won the Northern Conference and overall NEAFL premierships, a feat which was repeated in 2013. The Lions reserves trains and plays at the senior team's secondary training venue Giffin Park in Coorparoo, a four-minute drive from the Gabba.


Premierships (3)
Year Competition Opponent Score Venue
2001 QAFL Southport Sharks 13.20 (98) – 13.8 (86) Giffin Park
2012 NEAFL Queanbeyan Tigers 22.12 (144) – 11.9 (75) Manuka Oval
2013 NEAFL Sydney Swans 12.9 (81) – 10.13 (73) Graham Rd Oval

Season summaries[edit]

Season Competition Win–Loss–Draw Ladder position Finals result
2010 QAFL 6–12–0 8th DNQ
2011 NEAFL 4–13–1 10th (Wooden spoon) DNQ
2012 NEAFL 14–4–0 2nd Premiers
2013 NEAFL 16–2–0 1st (Minor premiership) Premiers
2014 NEAFL 6–12–0 9th DNQ
2015 NEAFL 2–16–0 10th DNQ
2016 NEAFL 3–15–0 10th (Wooden spoon) DNQ


AFL Women's team[edit]

In May 2016, the club launched a bid to enter a team in the inaugural AFL Women's season in 2017.[35] The Brisbane Lions were granted a license on 15 June 2016, becoming one of eight teams to compete in the league's first season.[36] Former AFL Queensland employee Breeanna Brock was appointed to the position of Women’s CEO the following day.[36]

Tayla Harris and Sabrina Frederick-Traub were the club's first signings, unveiled along with the league's other 14 marquee players on 27 July 2016.[37] A further 23 senior players and two rookie players were added to the club's inaugural list in the league's drafting and signing period.

Former Brisbane Bears player and AFL Queensland high performance coach Craig Starcevich was appointed the team's inaugural head coach in June 2016.[38]

Existing club sponsor Hyundai, along with Epic Pharmacy, will sponsor the team in 2017.[39]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Brisbane Lions Trading Name
  2. ^ "A history of Premierships". Brisbane Lions. Retrieved 15 September 2012. 
  3. ^ "AFL Clubs" (PDF). AFL. Retrieved 30 June 2010. 
  4. ^ a b Lovett, Michael (Chief editor) (2010). AFL Record Season Guide. Geoff Slattery Media Group. ISBN 978-0-9806274-5-9. 
  5. ^ Blake, Martin (28 September 2003). "Black right on the ball". The Age. Australia. Retrieved 8 May 2011. 
  6. ^ Wilson, Caroline (15 August 2014). "Fairer finals clause comes back to bite AFL". 
  7. ^ "Port Adelaide stun Brisbane". 25 September 2004. 
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Voss not boss". The Sydney Morning Herald. 
  11. ^ "Michael Voss sacked by Brisbane Lions". The Age. Melbourne. 
  12. ^ Brisbane Lions' Ash McGrath Retiring From AFL, Triple M Melbourne, 21 August 2014
  13. ^ "Brisbane Lions sack coach Justin Leppitsch after 'bitterly disappointing' AFL season". ABC. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 29 August 2016. 
  14. ^ "Brisbane Lions unveil Chris Fagan as new coach". Herald Sun. 4 October 2016. Retrieved 11 October 2016. 
  15. ^ Lions hit by fall in corporate box sales Retrieved 27 September 2009.
  16. ^ Macgugan, Mark (19 July 2011). "Clubs post membership record". AFL. Retrieved 28 July 2011. 
  17. ^ Attendance Summary
  18. ^ Jonathan Brown. Life and Football. 
  19. ^ Member Milestones from
  20. ^ Denham, Greg (May 16, 2012). "Brisbane Lions heading down financially stricken path of Port Adelaide as on-field performance fades". Fox Sports. Retrieved 11 January 2015. 
  21. ^ [1] 2009 Brisbane Lions Annual Report (2008 comparison values)
  22. ^ Lions membership tally rises – Official AFL website of the Brisbane Lions AFC
  23. ^ [2] 2009 Brisbane Lions Annual Report
  24. ^ [3] 2010 Brisbane Lions Annual Report
  25. ^ Clubs post membership record –
  26. ^ [4] 2011 Brisbane Lions Annual Report
  27. ^ "Brisbane Lions Membership". 9 February 2013. Retrieved 18 February 2013. 
  28. ^ Lions announce financial loss
  29. ^ "Brisbane Lions Membership Numbers". Retrieved 24 February 2013. 
  30. ^ [5] 2013 Brisbane Lions Financial Report
  31. ^ "2014 Financial Report" (PDF). Brisbane Bears – Fitzroy Football Club Limited. 31 October 2014. 
  32. ^ "Brisbane Lions 2015 Annual Report" (PDF). Brisbane Lions. Retrieved 10 January 2016. 
  33. ^ Tony Eastley (29 October 2009). "Brisbane Lions face court action over new logo". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 10 April 2010. 
  34. ^ Allen, Steve (29 September 2015). "Brownlow Medal 2015: remember when Shane Woewodin shocked the footy world?". The Age. Retrieved 4 May 2016. 
  35. ^ Burton, Cassie (6 May 2016). "Brisbane Lions submit National AFL Women's League bid". Brisbane Lions. Bigpond. Retrieved 25 October 2016. 
  36. ^ a b Tallon, Steele (16 June 2016). "Brisbane Lions announce Women's CEO". Brisbane Lions. Bigpond. Retrieved 25 October 2016. 
  37. ^ Matthews, Bruce (27 July 2016). "Sixteen of the best: women's marquees named". Bigpond. Retrieved 25 October 2016. 
  38. ^ Whitling, Michael (22 June 2016). "Coup for Lions as inaugural women's coach named". Bigpond. Retrieved 25 October 2016. 
  39. ^ "Hyundai driving force behind women's team". Brisbane Lion. Bigpond. 26 September 2016. Retrieved 25 October 2016. 

External links[edit]