|AFL||07/10 03:10||17||Brisbane vs Essendon||View|
|AFL||07/16 03:45||18||Greater Western Sydney vs Brisbane||View|
|AFL||07/23 09:10||19||Brisbane vs Gold Coast||View|
|AFL||07/31 05:20||20||Richmond vs Brisbane||View|
|AFL||08/07 05:20||21||Brisbane vs Carlton||View|
|AFL||08/12 09:50||22||St Kilda vs Brisbane||View|
|AFL||06/30 09:20||16|| Brisbane v Western Bulldogs ||108-67|
|AFL||06/23 09:20||15|| Melbourne v Brisbane ||117-53|
|AFL||06/11 09:25||13|| Brisbane v St Kilda ||78-57|
|AFL||06/05 07:20||12|| Fremantle v Brisbane ||99-85|
|AFL||05/28 03:45||11|| Brisbane v Greater Western Sydney ||110-96|
|AFL||05/22 05:20||10|| Hawthorn v Brisbane ||117-112|
|AFL||05/14 09:40||9|| Adelaide v Brisbane ||66-102|
|AFL||05/07 09:25||8|| Brisbane v West Coast ||105-30|
|AFL||05/01 06:40||7|| Sydney v Brisbane ||89-113|
|AFL||04/24 06:10||6|| Gold Coast v Brisbane ||80-132|
|AFL||04/14 09:35||5|| Brisbane v Collingwood ||98-91|
|AFL||04/08 09:50||4|| Geelong v Brisbane ||80-70|
The Brisbane Lions is a professional Australian rules football club based in Brisbane, Queensland, that plays in the Australian Football League (AFL).
The club was formed in late 1996 via a merger of the 1883 foundation VFL club the Fitzroy Lions and the 1987 expansion club the Brisbane Bears. The club's colours of maroon, gold and blue are drawn from both entities. The Lions are the most successful AFL club of the 2000s, appearing in four consecutive Grand Finals from 2001 to 2004 and winning three premierships (2001, 2002, 2003). They play home matches at the Gabba and have their offices and indoor training facilities located within the stadium.
The Lions also field teams in two other competitions. They were a foundation team in the AFL Women's competition in 2017 and have featured in three grand finals in that time, winning the premiership in 2021 and finishing runners-up on the other occasions. They have also fielded a reserve men's team in several leagues over the years, and as of 2021 the reserves team competes in the Victorian Football League.
The Fitzroy Football Club started in 1883 and won a total of eight VFL premierships, of which seven (1898, 1899, 1904, 1905, 1913, 1916 and 1922) were won whilst they were nicknamed the Maroons and one (1944) as the Gorillas. The club also boasted 6 Brownlow Medal winners who were Haydn Bunton Sr., Wilfred Smallhorn, Dinny Ryan, Allan Ruthven, Kevin Murray, and Bernie Quinlan. The decision of the club to change its nickname to the Lions in 1957 coincided with what history now records as the beginning of decades of poor on-field performance and financial losses. Despite a revival in the '80s, when the Lions made the finals four times under the coaching of Robert Walls and David Parkin, and the playing group of 1981 Brownlow Medallist Bernie Quinlan, Ron Alexander, Garry Wilson, Gary Pert and Paul Roos, the club's financial situation was perilous.
The VFL's plans to move or merge struggling Fitzroy to Brisbane pre-dated the Brisbane Bears, and negotiations between the league and the club began in 1986 with the playing group voting for a move to Brisbane. However, Fitzroy resisted the move despite significant incentives and in response, the VFL made the decision to cut any further financial assistance to the club, which contributed to its ultimate demise. By the start of the 1996 season, they were almost at the end of their financial tether. With no home ground, back to back wooden spoons, and their future under a cloud, Fitzroy began to consider options for survival.
The Brisbane Bears were born in 1987 and initially played home matches at Carrara Stadium on the Gold Coast. The Bears experimented with playing matches at the Gabba in Brisbane in 1991, before moving all home matches to the venue ahead of the 1993 season. On the field the club enjoyed limited success, only qualifying for the finals series in 1995 and 1996, following years of lower-ranked placings and two wooden spoons in 1990 and 1991. The closest the club came to a Grand Final was in 1996, its last year in the competition, when it lost to North Melbourne by 38 points in the preliminary final. On extremely shaky financial ground, the Bears struggled to generate many revenue opportunities in their ten-year existence.
Fitzroy's directors had agreed in principle to merge with the 1996 premiers, North Melbourne, as the "North-Fitzroy Kangaroos". However, that proposal was rejected 15–1 by the AFL Commission, reportedly out of concern that an all-Victorian merge would be too powerful. Instead, Fitzroy was placed into administration, and its administrator accepted an offer to merge its football operations with Brisbane.
The merged team would be based in Brisbane, and Bears coach John Northey would become coach of the merged club. However, it adopted an identity, logo, song, and guernsey based on those of Fitzroy, would take eight Fitzroy players in the draft, three Fitzroy representatives would serve on the board (including former Fitzroy champion Laurie Serafini), and the Lions would keep an office in Melbourne.
The eight Fitzroy players who would join the Brisbane Lions were Brad Boyd, Chris Johnson, Jarrod Molloy, John Barker, Nick Carter, Simon Hawking, Scott Bamford and Shane Clayton.
The Brisbane Lions were officially launched on 1 November 1996, joining the national competition in 1997.
In their debut year as a combined club the Lions narrowly made the finals, finishing in eighth position. They ended up with the same win–loss record as fellow 1997 newcomers the Port Adelaide Power, who missed out due to having an inferior percentage. Their first two games were against the eventual grand finalists of that year, Adelaide and St Kilda. They went down away to Adelaide by 36 points, before recording an emphatic 97 point thrashing of St Kilda in round 2. The Lions met St Kilda again in a cut-throat away qualifying final, going down by 46 points after leading the Saints at half-time. The Brisbane Lions in 1997 remain the only new team in VFL/AFL history to have made the finals in their first season.
Despite a talented playing list, the disruption of the merger and injuries to key players Michael Voss and Brad Boyd took their toll. The Lions would go onto finish in last position at the end of the 1998 season. Accordingly, Northey was sacked as coach 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 and brought many of the Hawthorn disciplines to the Lions. Importantly he forced the Lions to embrace and acknowledge their Fitzroy heritage with murals and records being erected at the Gabba, and past players names being placed on lockers. Within a year the Lions rose from the bottom of the ladder to fourth. The 1999 season included a round 20 Gabba match where the Lions led Fremantle by 113 points at half-time, after having kicked 21 goals. Their half-time score of 21.5 (131) still remains the highest in VFL/AFL history. Brisbane would win their first finals as a merged entity against Carlton and the Western Bulldogs before losing to the eventual premiers, the Kangaroos, in the 1999 preliminary final. The Lions played finals again in 2000, but bowed out in the second week after losing away to Carlton by 82 points.
The Lions began 2001 by making the final of the Ansett Australia Cup, their first pre-season grand final. They went down by 85 points away to Port Adelaide, who they had also been scheduled to play in round 1 at the same venue. After an inconsistent start to the 2001 season, the Lions took on the reigning premiers Essendon in round 10. Brisbane finished as 28-point victors and head coach Leigh Matthews famously used the Predator quote, "if it bleeds, we can kill it", to inspire his team for the game. The Lions would then win 16 games straight, finishing the year undefeated, and booking their place in the 2001 AFL Grand Final to play Essendon.
Going in as underdogs, Brisbane started the game well, scoring the first goal of the match from a free kick awarded to Alastair Lynch for holding against Dustin Fletcher. Essendon fought back late in the first quarter then took control of the game in the second term. The Lions poor kicking for goal almost put them out of the game in the second quarter as Essendon blew their lead out to 20 points late in the term.
|2001 AFL Grand Final||G||B||Total|
|Venue: MCG||Crowd: 91,482|
However, The Lions managed to overrun Essendon in the third term kicking six goals to one and turning a 14-point deficit into a 16-point lead. Brisbane's pace in the midfield and the tiring legs of most of the Essendon players played a pivotal role in them taking full control of the game in the second half. The Lions won their first premiership as a merged club comfortably, with a final score of 15.18 (108) to 12.10 (82).
The win was topped off with Lions utility player Shaun Hart winning the Norm Smith Medal as best on ground in the Grand Final.
|2002 AFL Grand Final||G||B||Total|
|Venue: MCG||Crowd: 91,817|
In 2002, the Lions won a club record 17 games, spending most of the season firmly entrenched in the top two with Port Adelaide. They narrowly missed out on the minor premiership following a final round defeat to the Power in Adelaide. In the finals, the Lions claimed easy home victories over the two Adelaide-based teams on their way to a second consecutive Grand Final. They faced Collingwood, who had surprised many that year after having missed the finals the previous seven seasons. Brisbane ended up defeating the Magpies 9.12 (66) to 10.15 (75) 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 to injury and had to complete the match with a limited bench.
In 2003, the Lions became the first team in the national era to win 3 consecutive premierships. 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) 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.
|2003 AFL Grand Final||G||B||Total|
|Venue: MCG||Crowd: 79,451|
During their premiership years, the club took the premiership cups 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.
|2004 AFL Grand Final||G||B||Total|
|Venue: MCG||Crowd: 77,671|
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. Port Adelaide had finished on top of the ladder and hosted the other preliminary final in Adelaide. Former player Jason Akermanis has since claimed that coach Leigh Matthews was furious over the preliminary final location decision. 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 grand final, were too good on the day and recorded a 40-point win in what was the first ever all non-Victorian grand final. The grand final is partly remembered for a wild punch-up between Port Adelaide's Darryl Wakelin and Alastair Lynch, who was playing in his final ever game, and therefore immune from being suspended.
The Lions endured a slow start to the 2005 season, before having a form reversal towards the end of the year, which included ten goal thrashings of top four contenders Geelong and Melbourne. Going into round 20, they were half-a-game clear inside the top eight, and had one of the strongest percentages in the league. However, they would lose their final three games and miss the finals, with their season culminating in a record breaking 139 point loss to St Kilda at the Telstra Dome. It remains the club's heaviest defeat, in addition to being the largest victory in the over 100-year history of St Kilda. Some believed that the St Kilda game, rather than the 2004 Grand Final, had signaled the end of Brisbane's triple premiership dynasty.
The Lions began the 2006 season optimistically, but injuries plagued the club as they again missed the finals, with Brisbane's players recording an AFL record total of 200 matches lost to injury for the season.
The Brisbane Lions 2007 season started with them finishing runner up to Carlton in the 2007 NAB Cup Grand Final. The Lions would fail to make the finals for a third successive year, again showing promising glimpses at stages, with a shock away win against reigning premiers the West Coast Eagles, and a 93-point hiding of finalists Collingwood at the MCG. They made history in 2007 by becoming the first club in the history of the AFL to have five co-captains.
The team struggled during the 2008 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. Following the season, Coach Leigh Matthews resigned after 10 seasons and 3 premierships with the club. The Lions appointed former player and Captain Michael Voss as the coach ahead of 2009.
After only winning 2 games from the first 5 played in 2009, the club won 9 of the next 12 to sit in 6th on the Ladder, where they would finish the season. They would also record a strong victory over eventual premiers Geelong during this timeframe by 43 points. The club beat Carlton in their Elimination Final, coming from 30 points behind in the final quarter to win by 7 points, before losing to the Western Bulldogs in a Semi Final.
The 2009/2010 off-season was dominated by the arrival of Brendan Fevola from Carlton, with a belief in the club that Fevola could help them capitalise and improve upon 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 finish 13th by the end of the season.
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 and finished 15th overall. The 2011 season saw the debut of another Queensland-based team, the Gold Coast Suns. The Suns, who were coming off a 139-point loss to Essendon the previous week, upset the Lions by 8 points in their first encounter. 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.
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. However, the club began its 2013 season with back-to-back losses to the Western Bulldogs and Adelaide. Injuries took a toll on the team, 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, in what would become known as the Miracle on Grass.
On 13 August 2013, coach Michael Voss was told that his contract would not be renewed.
On 18 October 2013, Brisbane Lions legend Simon Black announced his retirement.
On 25 August 2013, former premiership player for the Lions, Justin Leppitsch, was confirmed to be the senior coach of the Lions for the next three seasons.
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, and subsequently retired from football. His retirement, alongside the retirement of Ash McGrath, meant there were no players from the triple-premiership era remaining at the club.
On 29 August 2016, Leppitsch was sacked as coach of the Lions after multiple disappointing seasons.
On 4 October 2016, Hawthorn football manager Chris Fagan was announced as Brisbane's senior coach from the 2017 season onwards.
The Lions claimed the 2017 wooden spoon, despite winning 5 games for the season, 2 more than the previous season. Their percentage of 74.3 was the worst in the league, behind Fremantle with a percentage of 74.4. The 2018 season was very similar, recording 5 wins to finish in 15th place.
The Lions had a magnificent 2019 season, making the finals for the first time since 2009 and finishing second on the AFL ladder with 16 wins, behind minor premiers Geelong on percentage. However, Brisbane were bundled out of the finals in straight sets at the Gabba, losing to eventual premiers Richmond by 47 points in their qualifying final and then to eventual runners-up Greater Western Sydney by three points in their semi-final due to a late Brent Daniels goal. The Lions would become the first team since Geelong in 1997 to finish second on the ladder and not progress to a preliminary final.
Brisbane repeated their form displayed in 2019 the following year, once again finishing in second position on percentage at the conclusion of the Home and Away season. They won 14 games in a shortened 17-game season. During their qualifying final, they defeated Richmond for the first time since 2009 and qualified for a preliminary final berth, but would go onto be beaten by a more experienced Geelong side in that match.
After an inconsistent start to the 2021 season the Lions hit form, winning seven straight to sit in the top four for most of the year. However losses to Melbourne, Richmond, Hawthorn and St Kilda, meant the Lions sat in fifth as of the final round.
With the double chance on the line, the Lions regained fourth spot in the dying seconds of their final home and away game against West Coast. A behind kicked by Lincoln McCarthy put them ahead of the fourth placed Bulldogs by a single point of goal percentage, and a goal after the siren from Charlie Cameron then sealed the result for the Lions, who finished in the top four for the third year running under Chris Fagan. However, the Lions would bow out in straight sets for the second time in three years after suffering losses to Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs in the finals.