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Queensland Footy History

Qld Footy History Overview
19th Century
1903 to 1914
1915 to 1926
1927 to 1940
1941 to 1958
1959 to 1971
1972 to 1986
1987 to 1999
2000 to 2010
2011 to present
Qld Footy Hall of Fame
Qld Players in VFL/AFL
Brisbane Lions History
Gold Coast Suns History
The AFL Competition - Overview and History

Brisbane Lions History

The Brisbane Lions are one of two Queensland teams taking part in the AFL competition.  The club was formed by the merger of Melbourne-based team Fitzroy (the Lions) and the Brisbane Bears in mid-1996, and first competed as the Brisbane Lions in the 1997 AFL competition.

Fitzroy was one of the founding members of the Victorian Football League (VFL) which commenced competition in 1897.  The club had been formed in September 1883 and had played in the Victorian Football Association (VFA) in its early years.

The side was originally known as the Maroons before being dubbed the Gorillas for a time in the mid-20th century.  The nickname ‘Lions’ was adopted in 1957.

The early VFL days of the club were very successful, and by 1922 Fitzroy had claimed seven premierships, two more than any other side at that stage.  Alas, their eighth flag - in 1944 - would be their last as Fitzroy.

Brisbane Bears
The Brisbane Bears were formed in October 1986 when the QAFL and Paul Cronin were awarded a club licence by the VFL (as the league was then known), and first played in the VFL premiership in 1987.

Playing home games at Carrara on the Gold Coast until 1992, the Bears struggled for success in their early years.  A move to the Gabba in 1993 ushered in a more successful era for the club.  The side first made the finals in 1995, bowing out to eventual premiers Carlton and finishing eighth.  The following year, their last as the Bears, they made it all the way to the Preliminary Final, again losing to the ultimate premiers, on this occasion North Melbourne.

Brisbane Lions
The Brisbane Lions are arguably the most successful AFL team of the modern era.  With a hat-trick of flags from 2001 to 2003, it would take a lot of convincing that they are not.

With Leigh Matthews at the coaching helm for ten years, the Lions lifted the profile of the game in Queensland to the point where many of their star players became household names in a state where many people in the past had barely even realised the game existed.

With the Gold Coast Suns having entered the AFL fray in 2011, the Lions are facing new challenges on and off the field as Queensland footy supporters rally behind either the Lions or the Coast, and a strong inter-city rivalry between the two clubs is developing.

Selected images
(images are clickable)

The 1986 QAFL submission to the VFL for the Queensland licence.  The birth of the Brisbane Bears was the outcome.

Last Modified:  30th March 2012

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