Brisbane Lions

The Brisbane Lions is a professional Australian rules football club based in Brisbane, Queensland, that plays in the Australian Football League (AFL).

Brisbane Lions
Brisbane Lions logo 2010.svg
Full nameBrisbane Bears-Fitzroy Football Club Limited, trading as Brisbane Lions Australian Football Club[1]
2021 season
After finals5th
Home-and-away season4th
Leading goalkickerCharlie Cameron (47)
Club details
Colours  Maroon   Blue   Gold
CompetitionAFL: Senior men
AFLW: Senior women
VFL: Reserves men
ChairmanAndrew Wellington[2]
CEOGreg Swann
CoachAFL: Chris Fagan
AFLW: Craig Starcevich
Captain(s)AFL: Dayne Zorko
AFLW: Breanna Koenen
PremiershipsAFL (3)[3]AFLW (1)Reserves (5)
Ground(s)AFL: The Gabba (42,000)
AFLW: Hickey Park (5,000)
VFL: SP Sports Complex (3,000)
Training ground(s)The Gabba (1997–present)
Other information
Current season

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.[4] 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.



Haydn Bunton Sr. won three Brownlow Medals and two club best and fairest medals in his time at Fitzroy.

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 famous Fitzroy passant Lion which was chosen to be the emblem of the Brisbane Lions.

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.[5] 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.

Beginnings: 1997–2000Edit

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.[6] 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.[7] 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.[8] 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.

Triple premiership success: 2001–2004Edit

Michael Voss captained Brisbane to three successive premierships

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,[9] 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.[10] 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
Brisbane Lions 15 18 108
Essendon 12 10 82
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.[11]: 521 

2002 AFL Grand Final G B Total
Brisbane Lions 10 15 75
Collingwood 9 12 66
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.[12] 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)[11]: 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.[13]

Fitzroy and the Brisbane Lions spiritual home of Brunswick Street Oval
2003 AFL Grand Final G B Total
Brisbane Lions 20 14 134
Collingwood 12 12 84
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.[14][15]

2004 AFL Grand Final G B Total
Port Adelaide 17 11 113
Brisbane Lions 10 13 73
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.[16] 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.[17] 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.[18] 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.[19]

Rebuild & Michael Voss: 2005–2013Edit

Training, May 2007

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.[20] Some believed that the St Kilda game, rather than the 2004 Grand Final, had signaled the end of Brisbane's triple premiership dynasty.[21]

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.[22] 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.[23] 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.[24][25] 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.[26]

On 13 August 2013, coach Michael Voss was told that his contract would not be renewed.[27][28][29][30]

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

Playing under Justin Leppitsch: 2014–2016Edit

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.[31]

On 29 August 2016, Leppitsch was sacked as coach of the Lions after multiple disappointing seasons.[32]

Chris Fagan era: 2017–presentEdit

On 4 October 2016, Hawthorn football manager Chris Fagan was announced as Brisbane's senior coach from the 2017 season onwards.[33]

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 Lions flag flying over Fitzroy Town Hall on Napier Street in the Fitzroy suburb of Victoria before the 2021 finals series

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.

Membership base & SponsorshipEdit

Mural of Lions greats Kevin Murray and Jonathan Brown at the Royal Derby Hotel in Fitzroy, Melbourne.

Crowds and memberships for the Brisbane Lions grew dramatically during the four seasons in which they made the AFL Grand Final.

The club still maintains healthy Victorian support due to their Fitzroy origins, and The Royal Derby Hotel in Fitzroy is the official social venue for Victorian Lions fans, showing all televised games, and displaying a mural of club greats Kevin Murray and Jonathan Brown on its Alexandra Parade side.[34]

To add to this presence in Melbourne, the Lions Historical Society is based at Etihad stadium, containing exhibits of club history stretching from Fitzroy, to the Bears, and the Brisbane Lions.[35]

A 2000 Roy Morgan AFL survey of household incomes suggested that Brisbane Lions supporters were among the lowest earning in the league.[36]

Year Members
Change from previous season Finishing position Finals result/Wooden spoon Average home crowd
Profit (loss)
1997 16,769 8th Qualifying finalists 19,550 Un­known
1998 16,108   661 16th Wooden spoon 16,675
1999 16,931   823 3rd Preliminary finalists 21,890
2000 20,295   3,364 6th Semi-finalists 27,406
2001 18,330   1,965 2nd Premiers 27,638 ($845,000)[39]
2002 22,288   3,958 2nd Premiers 26,895 Un­known
2003 24,365   2,077 3rd Premiers 31,717 $2,200,000[40]
2004 30,941   6,576 2nd Grand finalists 33,619 Un­known
2005 28,913   1,308 11th 33,267
2006 26,459   2,454 13th 28,630
2007 21,976   4,483 10th 28,848 $1,058,000[41]
2008 22,737   761 10th 28,128 ($2,200,030)[42]
2009 24,873   2,136 6th Semi-finalists 29,172 ($603,207)[43]
2010 26,779   1,906 13th 29,933 ($2,713,848)[44]
2011 22,338   4,441 15th 20,462 ($1,855,926)[45]
2012 20,762   1,576 13th 20,344 ($2,513,262)[46]
2013 24,130   3,368 12th 21,083 ($1,574,762)[47]
2014 24,012   118 15th 19,743 ($3,543,138)[48]
2015 25,408   1,396 17th 18,810 ($681,053)[49]
2016 23,286   2,122 17th 17,074 ($1,783,506)[50]
2017 21,362   1,924 18th Wooden spoon 16,455 ($2,261,990)[51]
2018 24,867   3,505 15th 18,405 ($230,641)[52]
2019 28,821   3,954 2nd Semi-finalists 24,741 $648,618,[53] [a]
2020 29,277   456 2nd Preliminary finalists 10,648[b] $3,073,413[54]
2021 40,289   11,012 4th Semi-finalists N/A N/A

Statistics highlighted in bold denote the best known season for Brisbane in that category
Statistics highlighted in italic denote the worst known season for Brisbane in that category

  1. ^ For a short period in the 2018/19 off-season, from November '18 to March '19, the Lions' co–major sponsors were Oaks Hotels & Resorts and SOOW; however, the contract with SOOW was cancelled before the first game of the home-and-away season was played.
  2. ^ Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there were capped crowd capacities during the 2020 season
Fitzroy/Brisbane Lions historical society at Docklands stadium, Melbourne.

Non-playing/coaching staffEdit

Name Position
Greg Swann Chief Executive Officer
Andrew Wellington Chairman
Sarah Kelly Deputy chairman
Cyril Jinks Directors
Leigh Matthews
Peter McGregor
Mick Power
Ross Thornton
Danny Daly General Manager of Football
Dom Ambrogio List Manager
Andrew Crowell Personal Excellence and Wellbeing Manager
Damien Austin High Performance Manager
Stephen Conole Senior Recruiting Manager
Leon Harris Recruitment Consultant


Year Kit Manufacturer Major Sponsor Shorts Sponsor Back Sponsor
1997-98 Puma Carlton & United Breweries Spam Coca-Cola
1999 Devine Homes
2000 AAPT Spam Cellular One
2001 Russell Athletic Bio Organics Vitamins AAPT Cellular One
2002 AAMI
2003-06 AAPT
2007 Puma Vodafone Vodafone
2008 HBA
2009 MBF
2010 Bank of Queensland (Home) Conergy (Away) Conergy (Home) Bank of Queensland (Away)
2011-12 Kooga Bupa
2013 Vero Insurance (Home) National Storage (Away) National Storage (Home) Vero Insurance (Away)
2014 BLK Technology One
2015 Garuda Indonesia
2016 Vero Insurance (Home) Camperdown Dairy International (Away) - Camperdown Dairy International (Home) Vero Insurance (Away)
2017 Majestic Athletic XXXX
2018 Vero Insurance (Home) Oaks Hotels & Resorts (Away) Oaks Hotels & Resorts (Home) Vero Insurance (Away)
2019 Neds (Home) Oaks Hotels & Resorts (Away) The Coffee Club Oaks Hotels & Resorts (Home) Neds (Away)
2020 Classic Sportswear XL Express (Home) Neds (Away) Neds (Home) XL Express (Away)
2021 Taubmans

Relationship with Fitzroy FCEdit

The Lions playing against Collingwood in a 1960s Fitzroy jumper for the 2003 heritage round

Fitzroy FC Ltd came out of administration in 1998 and while it’s AFL operations are run via the Brisbane Lions, Fitzroy largely resumed its original VFL/AFL identity through its continued use of their 1975–1996 VFL/AFL jumper, their club song, and their 1884–1966 home ground at the Brunswick Street Oval. For a brief time, it experimented in partnerships with other semi-professional and amateur clubs before incorporating the Fitzroy Reds in 2009 to play in the Victorian Amateur Football Association.

Fitzroy FC ltd improved its relationship with the Brisbane Lions in the ten years from 1999 to 2009. In that time Brisbane acknowledged the two parent clubs for the merger with the letters BBFFC printed below the back of the neck of the club's guernseys from 2002. Fitzroy’s VAFA side played the curtain-raiser at the MCG when the Brisbane Lions met the Collingwood Magpies in the AFL Heritage Round of 2003. Brisbane also now wears a version of Fitzroy's AFL guernsey with red instead of maroon in most matches played in Victoria, consistent with Fitzroy's most recent colours.

Relationships between Fitzroy and Brisbane however were strained in late 2009, when Brisbane announced that it was adopting a new logo for season 2010 and beyond, which Fitzroy Football Club believed contravened Section 7.2 c) of the merger agreement. The new logo, a lion's head facing forward, replaced the former Fitzroy logo of a passant lion with a football. On 22 December 2009, Fitzroy lodged a Statement of Claim with the Supreme Court of Victoria, seeking an order that the Brisbane Lions be restrained from using as its logo, the new logo or any other logo other than 'the Fitzroy lion logo'. On 15 July 2010, the two clubs reached a settlement, agreeing that the Fitzroy logo symbolically represents the historic merger between the Bears and Fitzroy and the first 13 years of the Brisbane Lions competing in the AFL, and that Brisbane would use both the old and new logos alongside each other in an official capacity (e.g. on letterheads, marketing, etc.), with the old logo to be phased out altogether after 2014. Brisbane returned to using the old logo on its playing guernseys from 2015, but the new logo will remain for corporate purposes.

Since 2015, The Lions have kept strong ties with the Fitzroy Football Club in the VAFA and the Fitzroy junior football club. A one club approach has been taken from all parties and the Lions sponsor a male and female Fitzroy player each year, conduct coaching workshops for Fitzroy, and frequently invite the Fitzroy juniors to form a guard of honour for Victorian games. With many Fitzroy people having served on the Brisbane Lions board, each iteration of the club in the AFL and in local football keeps the Fitzroy spirit alive.

Club identityEdit


In 1997, the club unveiled its new merger emblem, consisting of the golden Fitzroy Lion on a badge of Maroon and Blue. The club used this emblem from 1997 until the end of 2001. In 2002, the club would unveil a new emblem in the shape of a football, emblazoned with the words "Brisbane Lions" and with the Fitzroy Lion located within the o of Lions. This emblem was used until 2010, when the emblem was again changed, this time in favour of a forward-facing Lion head.


Home Guernsey (worn 1997-2009 and since 2015): Predominantly maroon guernsey with a blue yoke featuring a golden Fitzroy Lion, with a gold collar and cuffs. XL Express is the current sponsor on the front whilst Ned's is the current sponsor on the back. For shorts, maroon home shorts are worn in home games and white away shorts are worn in away games not played in Victoria.

Away Guernsey (worn 2008-2009 and since 2015): Predominantly red guernsey with a blue yoke featuring a golden Fitzroy lion, with a blue collar and cuffs, and based on Fitzroy's final colours in the AFL. Ned's is the current sponsor on the front and XL Express is the current sponsor on the back. White away shorts are worn when this guernsey is used.

Clash Guernsey (worn since 2020): This predominantly white guernsey features a golden Fitzroy lion on a maroon v (the v reminiscent of the Bears’ final guernsey), with a maroon collar and cuffs. Ned's is the sponsor on the front and XL Express is the sponsor on the back. The same shorts as the Away Guernsey are worn.


The Lion's Mascot Manor representative and club mascot was Bernie "Gabba" Vegas until 2016 when Roy the Lion (named Roy after the nickname for Fitzroy fans) replaced him as mascot. In 2021 the club unveiled their Lioness mascot Auroara.[55]


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.[56]


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.

We're the Lions, the Brisbane Lions,

We'll kick the winning score

You'll hear our mighty roar

Training baseEdit

The Gabba in Brisbane

The club trains out of the Gabba during the football season. The club's administrative facilities are also located in the stadium. Due to the cricket season in the summer which is during the off-season for the Lions, the club has been required to train at alternative locations, such as Giffin Park in Coorparoo, Burpengary and elsewhere. The club has announced that it will move its training and administrative facilities into The Reserve, Springfield, a 10,000-capacity high-class facility in Ipswich that will ensure the club can base itself in the single location and play reserve-grade and AFLW matches at the one location.[57] It was later announced that shortly after the commencement of construction began at The Reserve, Springfield in March 2020, the date of the move to newly built training and administrative facility for the Brisbane Lions Football Club was delayed and pushed back to late 2022.[58][59]



The angst between supporters of Collingwood and Brisbane had been caused by plenty of history between the two clubs. Fitzroy and Collingwood are neighbouring suburbs with a suburban boundary separating them down the middle of Smith Street. They shared a fierce local rivalry pre-merger, but the rivalry between the Lions and the Magpies was properly ignited post-merger in late 1999 when Collingwood played their last ever AFL game at their spiritual home ground, Victoria Park. The Lions emerged 42 point victors that day and consigned the Magpies to their second wooden spoon in their VFL/AFL history. The rivalry between the two clubs peaked in the early 2000s, as the clubs played off in two consecutive Grand Finals in 2002 and 2003, with the Lions emerging victors on both occasions.[60]

Gold Coast SunsEdit

The Brisbane Lions have a rivalry with fellow Queensland AFL team the Gold Coast Suns. The two teams contest the QClash twice each season. The first QClash was held in 2011, with the game establishing the highest pay TV audience ever for an AFL game, with a total of 354,745 viewers watching the game.[61]

The medal for the player adjudged best on ground is known as the Marcus Ashcroft Medal. It is named after former footballer Marcus Ashcroft, who played junior football on the Gold Coast for Southport and 318 VFL/AFL games for the Brisbane Bears/Lions between 1989 and 2003. He later joined Gold Coast's coaching staff and was the first Queenslander to play 300 VFL/AFL games.[62] Lion Dayne Beams has won the medal three times, the most by any player.

The trophy awarded to the winner of the game is currently known as the "QClash Trophy". The trophy is a "traditional style" looking silver cup with a wooden base and a plaque. The plaque's inscription reads from left to right, "Brisbane Lions AFC", "QCLASH", "Gold Coast Suns FC".[63]

Port AdelaideEdit

The necessity of a merger between two AFL clubs in 1996 was to enable The Port Adelaide Football Club to enter the AFL in 1997. The result of this merger produced The Brisbane Lions, and fans of parent clubs Fitzroy and the Brisbane Bears were disappointed at losing their clubs as standalone entities due to Port’s entry into the league. A rivalry quickly developed between the newly merged club and Port.

In their early days, the two clubs could not be separated and had multiple close encounters, with a draw in two of their first three meetings.[6] In the early 2000s, the rivalry reached its peak as the two clubs would be the most dominant of the era, consistently finishing at the top of the ladder.[64] Between 2001 and 2004, the clubs met each other in the 2001 Ansett Australia Cup Grand Final, a 2001 qualifying final, a 2002 preliminary final and the 2004 Grand Final. Other notable encounters from this period include a round 22 match in 2002 to determine the minor premiership that year,[12] which Port Adelaide won by a single goal, and a round 17 match in 2003 with 7 lead changes in the final quarter, which Port Adelaide won by a point.


Club honoursEdit

Competition Team Wins Years Won
Australian Football League Seniors 3 2001, 2002, 2003
AFL Women's Seniors 1 2021
Queensland Australian Football League (1998–2010) Reserves 1 2001
North East Australian Football League (2011–2019) 4 2012, 2013, 2017, 2019
Victorian Football League (2021–) 0 Nil
Other titles and honours
AFL pre-season competition Seniors 1 2013
AFLX Tournament Seniors 1 2018
Finishing positions
Australian Football League Minor premiership
(McClelland Trophy)
0 Nil
Grand Finalist 1 2004
Wooden spoons 2 1998, 2017
AFL Women's Minor premiership 1 2017
Grand Finalist 2 2017, 2018


Team of the DecadeEdit

In June 2006, to recognise ten years since the creation of the Brisbane Lions, a Team of the Decade was announced.[65]

Team of the Decade
Backs: Chris Johnson Mal Michael Darryl White
Half-Backs: Marcus Ashcroft Justin Leppitsch Chris Scott
Midfielders: Nigel Lappin Michael Voss (c) Brad Scott
Half-Forwards: Jason Akermanis Jonathan Brown Craig McRae
Forwards: Luke Power Alastair Lynch Daniel Bradshaw
Followers: Clark Keating Simon Black Shaun Hart
Interchange: Martin Pike Tim Notting Jamie Charman Richard Champion
Coach: Leigh Matthews

Hall of FameEdit

Name Year inducted as inductee Year inducted as legend Reference Hall of Fame profile
Haydn Bunton Sr. N/A 2012 [66] Profile
Kevin Murray N/A 2012 [66] Profile
Michael Voss 2012 2014 [67] Profile
Garry Wilson 2012 2016 [68] Profile
Name Year inducted Reference Hall of Fame profile
Marcus Ashcroft 2012 [66] Profile
Fred Hughson 2012 [66] Profile
Nigel Lappin 2012 [66] Profile
Justin Leppitsch 2012 [66] Profile
Alastair Lynch 2012 [66] Profile
Leigh Matthews 2012 [66] Profile
Jack Moriarty 2012 [66] Profile
John Murphy 2012 [66] Profile
Percy Parratt 2012 [66] Profile
Bernie Quinlan 2012 [66] Profile
Paul Roos 2012 [66] Profile
Allan Ruthven 2012 [66] Profile
Bill Stephen 2012 [66] Profile
Norm Brown 2014 [67] Profile
Shaun Hart 2014 [67] Profile
George Holden 2014 [67] Profile
Chris Johnson 2014 [67] Profile
Harold McLennan 2014 [67] Profile
Roger Merrett 2014 [67] Profile
Chris Scott 2014 [67] Profile
Bill Walker 2014 [67] Profile
Darryl White 2014 [67] Profile
Len Wigraft 2014 [67] Profile
Jason Akermanis 2016 [69] Profile
George Coates 2016 [69] Profile
Jimmy Freake 2016 [69] Profile
Norm Johnstone 2016 [69] Profile
Gary Pert 2016 [69] Profile
Luke Power 2016 [69] Profile
Matt Rendell 2016 [69] Profile
Arthur Wilson 2016 [69] Profile
Jonathan Brown 2019 [70]
Frank Curcio 2019 [70]
Alan Gale 2019 [70]
Andrew Ireland 2019 [70]
Warwick Irwin 2019 [70]
Richard Osborne 2019 [70]
Robert Walls 2019 [70]

Club factsEdit

Coaches (men's)Edit

No. Coach P W L D W% Years
1 John Northey 34 12 21 1 35.29 1997–1998
2 Roger Merrett 11 3 7 1 27.27 1998
3 Leigh Matthews 237 142 92 3 59.92 1999–2008
4 John Blakey 1 0 1 0 0.00 2005
5 Michael Voss 109 43 65 1 39.45 2009–2013
6 Mark Harvey 3 2 1 0 66.67 2013
7 Justin Leppitsch 66 14 52 0 21.21 2014–2016
8 Chris Fagan 120 64 56 0 53.33 2017–present (R9 2022)

Coaches (women's)Edit

No. Coach P W L D W% Years
1 Craig Starcevich 25 14 10 1 56.00 2017—
2 Daniel Merrett 1 0 0 1 0.00 2020

Captains (men's)Edit

Captain Image Season(s) Achievements
Alastair Lynch   19972000 (co-captain)
Michael Voss   19972000 (co-captain)
20012006 (sole captain)
Simon Black   20072008 (co-captain)
Jonathan Brown   20072008 (co-captain)
20092012 (sole captain)
2013 (co-captain)
Chris Johnson   2007 (co-captain)
Nigel Lappin 20072008 (co-captain)
Luke Power   20072008 (co-captain)
Jed Adcock   2013 (co-captain)
2014 (sole captain)
Tom Rockliff   20152016
Dayne Beams   20172018
Dayne Zorko   2018

Captains (women's)Edit

Captain Image Season(s) Achievements
Breanna Koenen 2022
Emma Zielke   20172018, 2020-2021 AFLW premiership captain: 2021
Leah Kaslar   2019

Match records (men's)Edit

  • Biggest winning margin: 141 points – 29.15 (189) vs. Adelaide 6.12 (48), The Gabba, 24 July 2004
  • Biggest losing margin: 139 points – 7.5 (47) vs. St Kilda 28.18 (186), Telstra Dome, 27 August 2005
  • Highest score: 29.15 (189) vs. Adelaide, The Gabba, 24 July 2004
  • Lowest score: 2.5 (17) vs. Richmond, MCG, 14 April 2018
  • Highest score conceded: 28.18 (186) vs. St Kilda, Telstra Dome, 27 August 2005
  • Lowest score conceded: 3.10 (28) vs. Essendon, Metricon Stadium, 31 July 2020
  • Highest aggregate score: 293 points – Brisbane Lions 25.21 (171) vs. Fremantle 19.8 (122), The Gabba, 29 April 2001
  • Lowest aggregate score: 76 points – Brisbane Lions 6.6 (42) vs. Collingwood 5.4 (34), The Gabba, 4 September 2020
  • Most goals in a match: Jonathan Brown, ten goals vs. Carlton, The Gabba, 22 July 2007

Biggest home crowdsEdit

Rank Crowd Round, Season Result Opponent Brisbane Lions Opposition Margin Venue Day/Night/Twilight
1 37,478 QF2, 2019 Loss Richmond 8.17 (65) 18.4 (112) −47 The Gabba Night
2 37,224 15, 2005 Win Collingwood 19.19 (133) 7.13 (55) +78 The Gabba Night
3 37,032 PF2, 2001 Win Richmond 20.16 (136) 10.8 (68) +68 The Gabba Night
4 36,803 4, 2003 Win Collingwood 14.11 (95) 11.15 (81) +14 The Gabba Night
5 36,780 2, 2010 Win Carlton 16.11 (107) 12.16 (88) +19 The Gabba Night
6 36,467 3, 2004 Win Collingwood 21.11 (137) 12.5 (77) +60 The Gabba Night
7 36,197 1, 2003 Win Essendon 14.20 (104) 8.13 (61) +43 The Gabba Night
8 36,149 10, 2001 Win Essendon 15.12 (102) 10.14 (74) +28 The Gabba Night
9 36,077 17, 2005 Win Essendon 17.12 (114) 14.17 (101) +13 The Gabba Night
10 35,898 3, 2002 Win Essendon 17.15 (117) 9.13 (67) +50 The Gabba Night

AFL finishing positions (1997–present)Edit

Legend: Premiers, Wooden spoon

Finishing Position Year (Finals in Bold) Tally
Premiers 2001, 2002, 2003 3
Runner-up 2004 1
3rd nil 0
4th 1999, 2020 2
5th 2000, 2019, 2021 3
6th 2009 1
7th nil 0
8th 1997 1
9th nil 0
10th 2007, 2008 2
11th 2005 1
12th 2013 1
13th 2006, 2010, 2012 3
14th nil 0
15th 2011, 2014, 2018 3
16th 1998 1
17th 2015, 2016 2
18th 2017 1


Current squadEdit

Senior list Rookie list Coaching staff

Head coach

Assistant coaches

  • Mark Stone (strategy)
  • Murray Davis (backline)
  • Cameron Bruce (midfield)
  • Ben Hudson (ruck)
  • Jed Adcock (forwards)
  • Scott Borlace (head of development)
  • Mitch Hahn (VFL head coach)
  • Paul Henriksen (head of academy)
  • Zane Littlejohn (academy head of development)

  • (c) Captain(s)
  • (vc) Vice captain(s)
  • (B) Category B rookie
  • italics - Inactive player list
  •   Long-term injury
  • (ret.) Retired

Updated: 26 June 2022
Source(s): Players, Coaches

Covid top-up listEdit

For the 2022 season, in the event an AFL club has less than 28 players available due to Covid, each club can select from a list of 20 state league players who can be called up to AFL level.[71]

Brisbane have selected VFL players from Coburg, Port Melbourne and Brisbane Lions' VFL team

2022 Brisbane Lions Covid Top-up list
Player State League club
Tahj Abberley Brisbane VFL
Harry Arnold Brisbane VFL
Charlie Bowes Brisbane VFL
Wylie Buzza Brisbane VFL
Nathan Colenso Brisbane VFL
Will Fletcher Brisbane VFL
Riley Greene Brisbane VFL
Jackson Hille Brisbane VFL
Charlie Offermans Brisbane VFL
Luke O'Sullivan Brisbane VFL
Bruce Reville Brisbane VFL
Toby Triffett Brisbane VFL
Charlie Thompson Coburg
Sam Lowson Coburg
Jack Maibaum Coburg
Peter McEvoy Coburg
Corey Wagner Port Melbourne
Paul Hunter Port Melbourne
Fletcher Roberts Port Melbourne
Harvey Hooper Port Melbourne

Reserves teamEdit

The Brisbane Lions have fielded reserves teams in various competitions since 1998. In its inaugural year (1997) the club affiliated with the Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL), allowing players not selected for the AFL team to be drafted to individual clubs.[72] Between 1998 and 2010 the club's reserves team participated in the QAFL, where it was initially known as the "Lion Cubs",[73] until 2004 when it became the Suncoast Lions. In 2011 the team, whose name was now formally the "Brisbane Lions reserves", moved to the multi-state North East Australian Football League (NEAFL). The Lions won their first reserve-grade premiership in 2001 when they defeated the Southport Sharks in the QAFL Grand Final, and went on to claim four NEAFL premierships in 2012/13 and 2017/19. Following the NEAFL's dissolvement after the 2019 season, the Lions reserves moved to the Victorian Football League (VFL), and commenced playing in the competition in 2021.[74] The Lions currently play reserves matches at South Pine Sports Complex in Brendale, a facility opened in 2016.


Premierships (5)
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 Road Oval
2017 NEAFL Sydney Swans 12.13 (85) – 10.22 (82) Sydney Cricket Ground
2019 NEAFL Southport Sharks 20.15 (135) – 8.11 (59) Fankhauser Reserve

Season summariesEdit

Season Competition W–L–D Ladder position Finals result/Wooden spoon? Coach
1998 QAFL Unknown Unknown Un­known[a] Roger Merrett
1999 Un­known
2001 Premiers Craig Brittain
2002 Un­known[a]
2006 John Blakey/Daryn Cresswell
2007 Craig Brittain
Justin Leppitsch (caretaker)
2008 Paul Hudson
Justin Leppitsch (caretaker)
2009 Craig Brittain
2010 6–12–0 8th Craig McRae
2011 NEAFL
(Northern Conference)
4–13–1 10th Wooden spoon Nathan Clarke
2012 14–4–0 2nd Northern Conference Premiers
League Premiers
2013 16–2–0 1st (minor premiers) Northern Conference Premiers
League Premiers
Leigh Harding
2014 NEAFL 6–12–0 9th
2015 2–16–0 10th Shane Woewodin[75]
2016 3–15–0 10th Wooden spoon
2017 15–3–0 2nd Premiers Mitch Hahn
2018 10–7–1 5th Elimination finalists
2019 18–0–0 1st (minor premiers) Premiers
2020 Season cancelled due to COVID-19
2021 VFL TBC

Statistics highlighted in bold denote the best known season for Brisbane in that category
Statistics highlighted in italic denote the worst known season for Brisbane in that category

  1. ^ a b Whilst the finals result is unknown, it is known the team was neither premiers nor runners-up.

AFL Women's teamEdit

In May 2016, the club launched a bid to enter a team in the inaugural AFL Women's season in 2017.[76] The Brisbane Lions were granted a licence on 15 June 2016, becoming one of eight teams to compete in the league's first season.[77] Former AFL Queensland employee Breeanna Brock was appointed to the position of Women's CEO the following day.[77]

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.[78] 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. Emma Zielke captained the team for their inaugural season.[79]

Former Collingwood and Brisbane Bears player and AFL Queensland coach Craig Starcevich was appointed the team's inaugural head coach in June 2016.[80] The rest of the coaching team was announced on 8 November 2016 as David Lake as the midfield coach, Daniel Merrett as the backline coach and Brent Staker as the forward coach.[81] Car company Hyundai, along with Epic Pharmacy, sponsored the team in 2017.[82]

The Lions have been a successful team in the AFLW reaching the finals in 4 of the first 5 seasons. They narrowly lost grand finals in 2017 and 2018, before missing out on finals in 2019. In a shortened 2020 season, the Lions played a Qualifying Final against Carlton before the season was prematurely ended due to COVID border restrictions. No premiership was awarded in 2020. In 2021 the team won their first premiership by defeating Adelaide in the grand final.

The team plays its home games at Hickey Park in Brisbane.

Current squadEdit

Senior list Rookie list Coaching staff

Head coach

Assistant coaches

  • (c) Captain(s)
  • (vc) Vice captain(s)
  • (i) Inactive player(s)

Updated: 26 June 2022
Source(s): Players, Coaches: [6], [7]

Non-playing/coaching staffEdit

Name Position
Breeanna Brock Chief Executive Officer
Jess Blechnyden Football Analyst
Lana McLoughan Sports Psychologist
Michael Swann Wellbeing Mentor
Matt Green High Performance Manager
Miranda O'Hara Head of Medical
Tara Long Physio
Jeremy Schoenmaker Head Trainer
Kieran Miles Doctor

Season summariesEdit

Brisbane AFLW honour roll
Season Ladder W–L–D Finals Coach Captain(s) Best and fairest Leading goal kicker
2017 1st 6–0–1 Runners-up Craig Starcevich Emma Zielke Emily Bates Kate McCarthy (9)
2018 2nd 4–3–0 Runners-up Craig Starcevich Emma Zielke Kate Lutkins Jess Wuetschner (13)
2019 9th ^ 2–5–0 DNQ Craig Starcevich Leah Kaslar Ally Anderson Jess Wuetschner (8)
2020 7th ^ 3–2–1 Qualifying final Craig Starcevich[a] Emma Zielke Emily Bates Jesse Wardlaw (9)
2021 2nd 7–2–0 Premiers Craig Starcevich Emma Zielke Ally Anderson Dakota Davidson (16)
2022 3rd 8–2–0 Preliminary final Craig Starcevich Breanna Koenen TBC Greta Bodey (13)

^ Denotes the ladder was split into two conferences. Figure refers to the club's overall finishing position in the home-and-away season.
a Daniel Merrett was coach for round 3, and Starcevich was coach for all other matches.

See alsoEdit


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External linksEdit