Brisbane Lions midfielder Mitch Robinson
Brisbane Lions midfielder Mitch Robinson

Re-built Brisbane rise from 2016 ashes

TO appreciate the spectacular and on-going rebuild of Brisbane, you only have to go back to a desperately dark and miserable night for the club in 2016 when they hosted Collingwood at the Gabba.

This Thursday night's Easter Thursday blockbuster between the Lions and Magpies is headed for a sell-out with the resurgent Brisbane up against Collingwood who are second-favourite for the 2019 flag after going within a whisker of winning the 2018 premiership.

It should be a cracking contest, worthy of the primetime timeslot.

Even before a ball is bounced, the bubbling occasion itself is a wonderful reward for the Lions faithful who have endured a decade of disappointment.

Collingwood celebrate another goal in the 78-point thrashing of Brisbane at the Gabba in 2016.
Collingwood celebrate another goal in the 78-point thrashing of Brisbane at the Gabba in 2016.

The Lions are playing an exciting brand of football and will be buoyed by the club's first sellout since the short-lived and never dull 'Fevolution' rollercoaster of 2010.

Lions enforcer Mitch Robinson after the loss to Collingwood
Lions enforcer Mitch Robinson after the loss to Collingwood

Led by senior coach Chris Fagan, football boss David Noble and CEO Greg Swann, the Lions have been brought back to life as a competitive force which is great for Queensland footy as a whole.

The footy community is generally is up and about. And how good is it?

But this sort of bonhomie was not so prevalent back in 2016.

It was the last year of Justin Leppitsch's tenure as Brisbane senior coach when Brisbane finished with a 3-19 record - the same win-loss ratio as Essendon who had their team gutted for that season by the supplements scandal.

With an overall record of 14-52 in his three years in charge, Leppitsch was shown the door at the end of the season.

The 83-point loss to Fremantle in Round 12 was the night that several Lions board members privately decided among themselves that Leppitsch would not be offered a new contract for 2017 and beyond.

Dejected Lions players Daniel Merrett, Mitch Robinson and Daniel Rich after the loss to Collingwood
Dejected Lions players Daniel Merrett, Mitch Robinson and Daniel Rich after the loss to Collingwood

And the Round 8 clash with Collingwood on May 14, 2016 was the beginning of the end.

Collingwood senior coach Nathan Buckley was under enormous pressure heading into the Gabba showdown with his under-performing Pies facing a desperate Brisbane who had a 1-6 record.

Their only success was in the QClash in Round 4 best remembered for Suns defender Steve May knocking out Lions ruckman Stef Martin with a vicious off-the-ball bump.

So the scene was set in front of 24,552 spectators with Collingwood and their travelling black-and-white army rolling into town

But the Lions flopped.

The most ferocious Brisbane Lions at the Gabba back in Round 8, 2016.
The most ferocious Brisbane Lions at the Gabba back in Round 8, 2016.

The Pies went onto to win by 78 points and Buckley survived the chop at the end of the 9-13 campaign and is now thriving as a senior coach.

Thriving is a word that can also be used for the modern-day Brisbane.

They won't be glorified traffic cones this time around.

And you can rest assured that the only one-way traffic at the Gabba this Thursday will be going down Stanley St.

Quite pathetically too.

They were glorified traffic cones in the first half.

Collingwood led 4.9 (33) to 0.0 (0) at quarter-time.

It was the first scoreless opening quarter for Brisbane since Round 21, 1993 against Fitzroy when Buckley had 25 possessions and a goal playing for the Bears.

The Magpies had 61 points on the board before Brisbane registered their first score - a Dayne Zorko goal at the 14-minute mark of the second term.

Collingwood had 28 scoring shots to just three for Brisbane by halftime when they enjoyed an 11.17 (83) to 3.0 (18) buffer when the Gabba faithful booed their team off the field at the main break.

The Pies went onto to win by 78 points and Buckley survived the chop at the end of the 9-13 campaign and is now thriving as a senior coach.

Thriving is a word that can also be used for the modern-day Brisbane.

They won't be glorified traffic cones this time around.

And you can rest assured that the only one-way traffic at the Gabba this Thursday will be going down Stanley St.

 

Lions team v Collingwood, 2016

B: Darcy Gardiner -- Daniel Merrett -- Ryan Harwood

HB: Sam Mayes -- Marco Paparone -- Pearce Hanley

C: Ryan Lester -- Allen Christensen -- Daniel Rich

HF: Ben Keays -- Mitch Robinson -- Rohan Bewick

F: Josh Green -- Josh Schache -- Josh Walker

R: Stefan Martin -- Dayne Zorko -- Dayne Beams

Int: Ryan Bastinac -- Tom Bell -- Claye Beams -- Lewis Taylor

 

*Bold indicates Lions who have played this season