14/04/2024

As the Brisbane Lions celebrate 25 years in the AFL, The Inner Sanctum looks back at some of the best moments in the club's history. (Photo: Brisbane Lions).

It's been 25 years since the Brisbane Lions entered the competition, after the Fitzroy Lions and Brisbane Bears merged in 1996.

It’s been 25 years since the Brisbane Lions entered the competition, after the Fitzroy Lions and Brisbane Bears merged in 1996.

To celebrate, The Inner Sanctum takes a look at 10 of the best moments in Brisbane Lions’ history.

10 – Jonathan Brown kicks 10 goals against Carlton

Widely regarded as the Lion King, Jonathan Brown put on a show at the Gabba in 2007. In Round 16, Brown became the first Brisbane Lions player in history to kick 10 goals in a game as he led his side to a 117-point win.

The Lions captain went on to claim the Coleman Medal that year with 77 goals for the season.

9 – Aker Magic

Brisbane was one of the most exciting sides in the early 2000s, and no player encapsulated that more than Jason Akermanis. ‘Aker’ was one of the most box-office players in his prime and still to this day, is known as one of the game’s great entertainers.

On a rainy day at the Gabba against Geelong in 2005, the 2001 Brownlow Medallist sent the Lions faithful into raptures as he scored two remarkable goals within a minute of play in the forward pocket. The first goal was great, even by Aker’s high standards, but he outdid himself a minute later with an even better goal from the exact same spot.

8 – Comeback against Port

In Round 21 of the 2009 season, Brisbane hosted Port Adelaide and it needed a win to maintain its hopes of securing a home elimination final. The game got off to the worst possible start for the home side, as the Power surged ahead to take a 47-point lead as they kicked 10 goals in the opening quarter.

Brisbane fought back in the second quarter to reduce the lead to 17 at the main break. The comeback also saw one of the first Daniel Rich long-range goals, which fans have now become accustomed to, as he kicked a goal from the centre circle to reduce the deficit in the third quarter.

Port Adelaide led at every break but was unable to hold on as Brisbane stormed home to claim a 15-point win.

7 – McCarthy’s big ride seals victory for the Lions

The Brisbane Lions entered its 2019 clash against Geelong full of confidence. The Lions’ season was the culmination of years of rebuilding and Chris Fagan’s side faced their ultimate test in the penultimate round of the season.

Geelong was top of the ladder, but a win for Brisbane would promote Fagan’s side to the top spot. The Cats led by 17 points midway through the final term, but a spirited fightback set up a thrilling finale.

With two minutes left in the game, Brisbane trailed by four points when Lincoln McCarthy took a great specky against his former side. McCarthy converted from the set shot and the Lions held on to claim a one-point win and took the top spot on the ladder.

6 – 2020 Qualifying Final

The 2020 finals series saw the Lions host the Tigers for a place in the preliminary final for the second year in a row. Brisbane had not defeated Richmond in 11 years and were underdogs in the clash against the reigning premiers.

However, unlike 12 months earlier Brisbane was up to the task. The Lions led by 21 points at the three-quarter-time, but the Tigers refused to die.

Richmond had momentum on its side and reduced the margin to just eight points with four minutes to play. However, with two minutes left, Hugh McCluggage stood tall as he snapped a goal under pressure to give Brisbane a preliminary final berth.

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5 – 2009 Elimination Final

The Lions played in their first final since their 2004 grand final defeat. Brisbane hosted Carlton in an exciting clash, that saw the two leading goalkickers from the season, Brendan Fevola and Jonathan Brown, faceoff.

The Blues got off to the perfect start as they took control of proceedings and scored the first 21 points of the game. However, just like three weeks earlier at the Gabba when they refused to die after an opening-quarter blitz from the Power, the Lions refused to be beaten.

Six minutes into the second quarter, the scores were level after a 30-metre snap from the Brisbane Lions’ captain. The rest of the quarter was a goal-for-goal contest and the Lions went into the main break with a 55-54 lead.

Carlton hit back in the third quarter and led by 24 points at the final change. The Lions’ hopes seemed all but over when the Blues kicked the opening goal of the final quarter to extend the lead to 30.

However, Michael Voss’s side refused to give up as Brown and Daniel Bradshaw led the charge for the Lions. With nine minutes remaining, Carlton’s lead was reduced to just 10 points and the Gabba was roaring yet again.

Three minutes later, Rich kicked a trademark 50-metre goal to bring Brisbane within one kick of an unlikely victory. Then, with just five minutes remaining, Bradshaw took a mark 15 metres out from goal and converted the following set-shot to give the Lions the lead.

Only moments later, Bradshaw scored an incredible goal from the boundary to seal the win for Brisbane and sparked jubilant scenes across the Gabba.

4 – Miracle on Grass

One of the greatest comebacks of all time occurred at the Gabba in 2013. An under-pressure Michael Voss was tasked with turning the season around for a Brisbane side that was struggling.

Geelong asserted its dominance throughout the first three quarters and took a 52-point lead late in the third quarter. The Lions kicked two late goals before the final change to reduce the deficit to 38 points.

Brisbane did the unthinkable as it kicked eight goals in the final quarter to pull off a fairy-tale win. The winning goal came from Ash McGrath in his 200th game to give the Lions the victory after the siren.

3 – 2002 Grand Final

There are no surprises about what makes the top three on this list. In third place is the 2002 premiership when Brisbane defeated Collingwood by nine points and claimed its second premiership.

Michael Voss starred on the day as he put in one of the great captain’s performances and was unfortunate to not be awarded the Norm Smith Medal. However, it was Jason Akermanis who stole the show as he kicked the winning goal to seal the premiership.

2 – 2003 Grand final

The moment the Brisbane Lions became the greatest side in the modern era. In a grand final rematch from one year earlier, Brisbane met Collingwood at the MCG yet again.

The Lions lost to the Magpies just three weeks earlier in the Qualifying Final, however, Collingwood was unable to repeat its efforts from earlier in the series as Brisbane stormed to a 50-point win and completed its three-peat of premierships.

The Brisbane Lions celebrate its third consecutive premiership in 2003. (Photo: Brisbane Lions)

1 – 2001 Grand Final

The 2001 premiership was the culmination of five years of building and united both the Fitzroy and Brisbane supporters to claim the Lions’ ninth premiership and Brisbane’s first. Brisbane entered the game as underdogs as it took on the reigning premiers Essendon.

However, the Lions were a dangerous side as they had won their last 15 games, which included a win over the Bombers at the Gabba in Round 10. The game was an even contest early on, but the Dons took a 20-point lead late in the second quarter.

However, Leigh Matthews’ side sprung to life and kicked six goals in the premiership quarter to lead by 16 points at the final change. Brisbane’s momentum continued into the final quarter as it went on to claim a historic victory.

The Day the Dynasty Began
The 2001 premiership was the beginning of one of the great AFL dynasties. (Photo: Brisbane Lions.)

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