"Kings of the jungle" is the slogan of the Brisbane Lions. Obviously the club isn't aware that, unlike Tigers, Lions don't live in the jungle. Therefore, kings of the savannah might be more accurate. Getting the ecosystem wrong is hardly a surprise from a Queenslander. After all, they have a beer called XXXX because most Queenslanders don't know how to spell.
As intelligence has never been a Queenslander's strong point, the Brisbane Lions have instead focussed on brute strength. It is this strength that took the club to three consecutive premierships from 2001-03 and made it worthy of the title of king of the beasts.
Brisbane's strength, both on and off the field, is a relatively recent phenomenon. The club was established in 1987 and based on the Gold Coast. Why it choose to base itself on the Gold Coast but have Brisbane in its name can only be attributed to another case of Queensland intellect at its finest.
The club's moniker was the Bears, which was the faunal emblem of Queensland. Accordingly, it played like its cute marsupial mascot. They were slow and uncoordinated, almost as if they are drunk on eucalyptus leaves. They looked lazy, almost as if they would prefer to be sitting up high in the grandstand watching the game, rather than be involved in it.
Financially, a diet of gum leaves would have been an apt description of the club's budget. Club owner Christopher Skase lost $27 million before his empire fell apart and the club sold.
In 1993, the Brisbane Bears relocated to Brisbane and began to make some progress. On the field, the club made the eight in 1995 and finished third in 1996. Also in 1996, future captain Michael Voss won the Brownlow Medal. It was also a monumental time off the field. Four years after the club's membership at the Gold Coast was a paltry 800, the Bears membership jumped to 10,500 and the average attendance reached 18,672.
With the future looking rosey, in 1997 the club "merged" with the Fitzroy Lions. With Fitzroy bankrupt, Brisbane presented a plan to cover its debts and the administrator agreed to let Brisbane have Fitzroy's moniker, players, colours and song.
In desperation, the Lions turned to Leigh Mathews, one of the toughest and dirtiest players in VFL history. Leigh cultivated a team in the mould of a Lion. Players were expected to be big, strong and hard at it. The playing style was simple and unintelligent - push the ball forward, tackle hard, run hard, be hard and hurt the other team.
In the 2001 grand final, the Lions defeated Essendon which had been the toughest team of the era. In the 2002 and 2003 grand finals, they overpowered the Collingwood Magpies with physical intimidation.
Aside from the Lion moniker giving Brisbane a more intimidating onfield presence, the injection of Fitzroy culture also seemed to increase the club's popular appeal. Fitzroy's colours were more aesthetic than the hideous brown and yellow of the Bears. Only Hawthorn's colours had been worse. Furthermore, Fitzroy's song, to the tune of the French national anthem, infused some French style arrogance. With three consecutive premierships, Brisbane briefly had some of that.
As for Fitzroy, it had been a strong club in the early part of the 20th Century. They had built a strong rivalry up with neighbouring Collingwood that was based on topographical issues rather than onfield battles. When it rained, Fitzroy's sewage flooded into lowly Collingwood. Obviously, taking Fitzroy's sewage did little to endear Collingwood to its neighbour, but it did a great deal to endear Fitzroy to the rest of Melbourne and so the Roys became everyone's second team.
In the 70s, the club pulled out the cheque book to buy a premiership. The gamble didn't work and the club found itself struggling under the weight of debt. Ironically, it was the actions of clubs like Fitzroy that led to the creation of an independent VFL administration that aimed to stop clubs acting recklessly in the future, yet then evolved to cull Fitzroy from the league.
Aside from lacking money to spend on marketing, Fitzroy was forced to "sell" off some of its star players to pay debt. Continuing financial difficulties led to it having four different home grounds from 1984 to 1996. Each move was a blow to its identity and the ability of its fans to continue to support the club.
Disenchanted players jumped ship as they saw the club was trying to survive, not try to win a premiership. Finally, the AFL as good as stated that the club had no future resulting in all potential financial saviours keeping their distance.
Although 'Brisbane' and 'intelligence' are often defined as contradictory words, in the merger, it seems Brisbane intelligence has combined with Melbourne culture to make a useful partnership.
And for all those old time residents of Fitzroy who fondly remembered the days when rain carried their sewage off into Collingwood, they can now continue to take pleasure at seeing the Lions of today continue to shit over the Pies. When that occurs, the Lions again become everyone's second team.
Club song brisbane lions theme song
The Lion’s song is sung to the tune of the French national anthem and sings about what the club will do rather than what it has done. Perhaps this is indicative of two clubs that have a history of failure and just hope things will get better one day.
Roy Morgan research
Brisbane Lions supporters are:
2001 when compared to other Australians
*2004 when compared to other AFL supporters
*From 2001 to 2004 Brisbane Lions supporters have increased by 66.8%
2006- when compared to other AFL supporters
1) Collingwood - Collingwood has lost two Grand Finals to Brisbane but rather than be humble and accept that they have psychological deficiencies, the Pie's president Eddie McGuire has attributed their failure to Brisbane's salary cap concessions. Of course, such excuses make all subsequent humiliations of the Magpies that much more enjoyable.
2) Gold Coast - Not really a rivalry but there is hope it will become one.
Brisbane Lions jokes
1) There is a Gold Coast psychiatrist that has a thriving practice, particularly during the football season. He tried an idea-association test on a patient and asked her what came to mind when she thought of something brown, firm and had smooth curves. " A football" said the patient immediately. "Good. And what comes to mind when two arms slide around your waste?" "An illegal tackle" was the instant reply. "Now picture a firm set of thighs" "a full back!" "Top marks" said the psychiatrist. "Your answers are perfectly normal. You would be surprised by some of the silly answers I get."
2) Why do Lions fans drink a beer called XXXX? Because they can't spell beer.
3) A Brisbane Lions fan is someone who reads comic books without moving their lips.
4) Why wasn't Jesus born into the Brisbane culture? Because there are no wise men or virgins.
|Was this more interesting than a news update of players in a recovery session standing around in the ocean looking cold or of a team 'training without incident'?|