Divide and Diminish - the AFL's failed Decade in QLD | BigFooty

Divide and Diminish - the AFL's failed Decade in QLD

Discussion in 'Brisbane Lions' started by Paul_D, May 9, 2018.

  1. Paul_D

    Paul_D Rookie

    Brisbane Lions
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    (This is an article I've been working on last few days for another site. Thought maybe some people might find it interesting. If you have any comments or suggestions you wanna let me know, they are most welcome!)


    Divide and Diminish - the AFL’s failed decade in Queensland

    In January 2008, a report surfaced in the media that the AFL had quietly registered an organisation called Gold Coast Football Club Ltd with ASIC. This was publicly acknowledged by the AFL in March 2008 when they won the support of the 16 club presidents to establish a 17th team on the Gold Coast, and an 18th team in Western Sydney.

    One of those teams has been a relative success with several finals appearance, and appears to be well established at an excellent ground, with a strong family support base. The other, has been a bit of a disaster, with poor crowds, retention difficulties and beset by cultural issues. Not only that though, but where NSW has seen the Swans continue undiminished and unaffected by the success of their cross-town rival, the Suns miserable start has coincided with an even worse slump in the form of the Lions, which has resulted in an entire decade of irrelevance for both AFL teams in Queensland. No finals - but more than that, not even the prospect of them. A succession of seasons have been dead and buried by May for both teams. So why has this been the case in Queensland? What’s happening here?

    In previous articles I’ve talked about free agency, ability to attract off-field staff, demographics and economics - I’ll return to some of those areas later with a few additional points, but right now I want to spend some time talking about the peculiar market that is Queensland, and how I feel the AFL (particularly at the board and executive level) has failed to gain an understanding of what they are grappling with here.

    Let’s start with the AFL Commission itself. This is an organisation, that has spent the last few decades riding a dizzying upward roller coaster of crowds, dollars and excitement. Some have commented in the past that their favourite post-meeting refreshment is a big gulp of their own bathwater. Remarks like this are based on the not unreasonable view the AFL holds, that a big part of the reason for the ongoing success and state of the game they administer, is that their product is incredibly exciting to watch - particularly compared to the alternatives. I would contend that in some respects there can be an attitude of smugness about how good the game is - never hubris, nothing like that - certainly a comfortable arrogance though, that at times, manifests itself in Field of Dreamesque delusions about “If you build it they will come” - delusions like registering a team on the Gold Coast.


    A lot of the damage was done based on the timing of the Suns entering the competition. The Lions had just completed a flaming turd of a season in 2010 - they won their first four, then won 3 games for the rest of the season as the Fevola experiment exploded in Vossy’s face. With the Suns entering in 2011, there were a lot of Lions supporters who needed little encouragement to jump off what appeared an imminent trainwreck.

    Contrast that to GWS - they entered in 2012, the same year the Swans reminded everyone why they’re such a great club by winning the premiership. Oh, and then at the end of next year the Swans signed the best player in the competition from under GWS and the AFL’s noses so he could light up their stadium and put bums on seats. The contrast in circumstances couldn’t be starker.

    On the Lions too, the AFL may not have done much demographic research as otherwise they would have realised a lot of the Lions supporters live quite a long way out of Brisbane. Plenty of them lived on the Gold Coast and used to drive up for games. A good 10,000 fans disappeared from the Gabba each and every week in 2011 compared to 2010. So far they have not yet returned.

    There’s a lot of myths about Queenslanders being incredibly passionate sports fans. As someone with a pretty good handle on the mood and psyche of your average Queenslander, I’m here to tell you that is absolute crap. Queenslanders can be very noisy and boisterous, yes - but they are the supporter equivalent of cocaine - briefly elevated during the moment then subside and a headache the next day. The Broncos horde come together like a bunch of yellow and red rhinos every couple of fridays for their fortnightly rut at Suncorp, they all make a lot of noise and swill a lot of booze and then they all return to their lives the length and breadth of the city. That’s the limit of a lot of people’s engagement up here. The Lions fans are no different - there’s just less of us. People up here want to see a good game and they want to go along knowing there’s a chance their team could win.

    Did you know that since start of season 2016, the Lions have only beaten Carlton, Fremantle and the Suns at home? If you want to go back to the last time we beat a side that was in the top 8 at the time we played them, home or away - North Melbourne, round 15, 2014

    A hell of a lot of games to sit through without an upset win. Part of the reason why the Collingwood game was so exhilarating on the weekend was because it was a live red hot contest right up to the final minute. So many games are over by quarter time when you’re a Lions fan, it was refreshing to not have to be in rationalisation mode after 20 minutes. The Suns have claimed a few more scalps - but it’s never led to a series of wins, beyond one of 5 in 2014. The Lions haven’t won more than 2 games in a row since 2013. Years and years of seasons like this kills people interest in the game. It makes them walk away and maybe they’ll come back when things improve.

    So without wins, there’s not much else to fall back on. There’s no real history of sporting engagement at an elite club level up here - the diehards who want to support a club, support their local footy club instead, and play footy with their mates. The only real passion people have up here for a sporting contest, the only time they really get wound up, and know all the details and are prepared to put everything on the line, is when it’s Queensland vs some other bastard state.

    And that, that, is where the AFL killed their golden goose back in 2008. Before then, the Lions were Queensland’s team. Yes, they’d come up from Melbourne, where they were just absolutely shithouse, and there’s no such things as Lions here, but they came up here to Brisbane and we gave them a second home and then we went and won 3 flags and stuck it right up all those Victorian so-and-so’s and wasn’t it great to see Eddie McGuire red and angry on grand final day.

    But a few years later the AFL helicoptered in like Allen Stanford with a big bag of money and said no, that’s all changing now. You have to have this new team now. And you lot in Brisbane, you need to have a rivalry with Gold Coast. And vice versa. And everyone up here shrugged their shoulders and said “yeah nah”.


    Australians have always had a good nose for bullshit, but Queenslanders pride their snouts on being particularly sensitive, particularly where sport is concerned. They also resent - fiercely - being lectured or hectored or controlled by other states. This was demonstrated as long ago as 1887 when Rugby Union won by a single vote, a poll to be the main sport to be taught in Queensland independent schools as voted by their headmasters. It won, despite having no real presence in Queensland, and up against a well established amateur competition playing VFL rules, primarily because Rugby Union had formed a new body from Queenslanders to run the game (the QRU), whereas Victorian Football had undertaken to do no such thing or bestow no such powers on Queenslanders to run the game for themselves. The majority of headmasters objected on the basis that the reference of "Victorian" in the name of the sport did not represent the interests of Queenslanders. This decision played a huge role in killing off the fledgling victorian rules football competition that had sprung up in Queensland over the preceding 20 years, and by the time it was resurrected on a semi-pro basis in the 20th century, rugby league had been established for a few decades, and laid permanent claim to the state.

    Petty, I know. But that’s Queensland and Queenslanders for you. We can be blase about the most sweeping epic events, but work ourselves into an absolute lather or dig our heels in mightily over what, to an outsider, would seem insignificant or unimportant little details. The AFL has never really understood this - their tin ear for Queensland in general has not been unnoticed up here, even by people with very little interest in the code. Even if they don’t follow the code, everyone up here knows the two AFL teams here are terrible, have been for years, and so they just ignore them.


    It should be noted too, this is far from the first instance of high-handedness from the AFL over the years where Queensland is concerned. Look at the Bears initial introduction in 1987. Only reason that happened because the VFL and its constituent clubs were flat broke, and Christopher Skase wasn’t. The merger in 1996? The Bears finished 3rd that season and Voss won his Brownlow - they were going alright. Fitzroy were not. A merger with North was kyboshed by the VFL interests as they feared a superclub rising from the merger, particularly considering the Roos won the premiership in 1996. So pack them off to Brisbane instead, they won’t go anywhere up there, surely. Plus it’ll give them some fans in Melbourne. Oh and we can get rid of that bad news bears moniker, and we’ll call them the Lions so Fitzroy don’t get upset. 3 flags followed though - but the vengeance for that unscripted success has lasted 15 years and is still ongoing. And finally - the Suns, well, the main aim of that game was to get a team into Western Sydney, I think that’s fairly evident. The Suns were a necessary addition, needed as a 17 team comp was unworkable, and a second Queensland team would facilitate a home game in the state each and every week of the season. Just don’t ask how many people are watching (or not watching), small details like that will only detract from from the headlines. Crowd numbers are bad enough, but if you want to see something truly scary, you should check out the TV ratings for the Lions and Suns, whose games are broadcast live into Queensland each and every week. Routinely less than 30,000 people watching it on 7mate in a state of close to 5 million people.

    Speaking of numbers - I hinted at this in an article a few weeks ago about the disparity in where the 180 odd 100+ game players in the AFL ply their trade - but I think it has been clear in the past few years that there isn’t quite enough elite talent in the AFL to guarantee 18 clubs can all be competitive at the same time. 4 clubs in Hawthorn, West Coast, Sydney and Geelong have managed to tread water close to or in the 8 for a decade, that has coincided with Brisbane & Gold Coast occupying permanent slots in or around the bottom 4. Others have come and gone over the course of that decade but by and large they have been the main occupants of the cellar. Plenty of bad decisions were made in terms of on & off-field personnel - but really, what were the alternatives? And were any of them actually available? Anyone who has had serious coaching nous or was highly rated over the past decade was snapped up by higher profile clubs - I mean, who would choose to work at the Lions or Suns if you could work elsewhere for roughly the same money (or a bit less) - and so when you say Leppitsch or Eade - or Walker or Malceski - weren’t great options, it’s remiss to not reflect equally, that it was probably an equally low percentage choice of someone else, or nothing. It took AFL funding to get Fagan, Noble and Dew up here and there’s no guarantee any of them have a magic wand or are going to be able to turn things around. Everyone remembers Ablett saying he wanted to win a premiership with the Suns - but I bet no-one remembers a certain infrastructure minister claiming back in 2012 how good it would be to see the Suns and Lions playing in a final against each other in a few years. That turned out be rather optimistic. Right now I think a few years will be at least a few decades - the chances of one of these sides making the 8 consistently is very remote, let alone both somehow making a push up the ladder at the same time. There’s a giant enduring gulf between these two sides and the rest that routinely gets papered over by prognostications in the media of how it will all come good in a few years.

    Originally when I was thinking about this article, I wanted to try and outline a plausible situation whereby the AFL might be able to amalgamate the two Queensland sides and get a team into Tasmania in the desire to do more than just symbolically claim to be Australia’s game. But I dropped that idea early on - Springfield just got funding for the Lions facilities, and let’s be honest, the AFL isn’t going to retreat from the Gold Coast, not while the Titans are still there. They’re going to stick with two teams up here, I realise that. And hypotheticals aren’t my favourite thing. Finally for them to go back to one team up here in the name of consolidation there’d need to have been a huge drop-off in interest and money in the game to necessitate it, which is not something I want to see just for the sake of a single Queensland side.

    So, how can they make these two teams work?

    One issue I see is with the names and choice of locations. By basing two teams in Brisbane and the Gold Coast they’ve immediately anaesthetised everyone west of Ipswich and north of Gympie from giving a stuff about the competition. Queensland is a huge sprawling decentralised state, far more so than any other in Australia, with large cities and vocal populations outside the SE corner. Brisbane is obviously Brisbane, nothing will change there. They’ll stay the Lions. For me, it’s the Suns - they’re still a blank enough canvas they could reshape them a bit. If the Suns could perhaps be transformed into a sort of Greater Queensland side, rather than anchored solely on the Gold Coast, and actually played more than a token game in Cairns - say also one in Townsville, Mackay and Rockhampton, perhaps that would go some way towards building some more interest and show the good people of Queensland the AFL is putting their money where their mouth is. Regional airport construction is increasing in Queensland - perhaps the AFL could get on board with Virgin and a few accommodation providers and put together some well priced packages for North and Western Queenslanders to come to the Coast for games - sort of like those collective bargaining things, if enough people in say Charters Towers wanna come down for the game and can fill a plane, the more who come, the cheaper it is for all. By playing a few more games in North Queensland the AFL could also ask by default some questions of the North Queensland Cowboys, who don’t play much outside of Townsville. If pre-season games could be staged in somewhere like Mount Isa, Longreach, Emerald - well, anyways, there’s a lot more they could be doing to actively encourage interest in the state in some of the more diverse markets, rather than just looking like they’re only after the easy money and flashing lights on the Coast.

    The current strategy though, and one I suspect the Suns will persist with, is to keep squatting on the Gold Coast, keep battling on, and rather like the North Queensland Cowboys, hope that their early decade of losses and poor culture is rewarded with their Thurston equivalent (or equivalents) showing up, a couple of elite young Queensland players they can build their club around. Sometime in the 2020’s there might be a tram all the way to Metricon so if they’re still afloat by then that’s got to be worth an extra couple of thousand a game. The Commonwealth games did two unwelcome things for them this year - it ruined their traditional July game in Cairns by it being played in March in a cyclone, and it meant they set a ‘home’ crowd in Perth against Fremantle they’re never going to break in the next 100 years. Like most sporting outfits on the Coast, they’re turning into a bit of a bad joke. Alright, I’m being a bit cynical but when the growth has got to come from within to get these clubs going, well - I’m damned if I’m seeing it.

    Part of the issue is the players Queensland attracts via the trade table. Sure there’s the odd diamond in the rough - hello Charlie, hello Jarryd - but by and large, we get players who, if they do come here from other clubs, probably didn’t have an alternative (unless they’re from QLD originally). What you get with these players is someone who knows they’re close to the drop in terms of their AFL career, and naturally they want to stay in the game. So you wind up with a very professional AFL player, who does all the right things - but who also has a bit of a safety first mentality. They don’t like to take big risks because they don’t want to be risk making huge blunders. A succession of blunders can lead to an axing. I’m not saying it’s a retirement home or a booze cruise, they don’t last long at all if they do that - more, that we get a few long term employee in the office types, who do everything right and do a pretty good job - but rarely show any initiative or desire for change in how they approach their own game. That, I think is an understated issue as to why the Lions and Suns have shown no real desire to win at times, and why, when the teams have been doing badly within games, the midfields have turned a bit every man for themselves as players look to impress to avoid the coming chop next week.

    The other part is that we lack teachers who know what it takes to make and play in finals to imprint the necessary standards on young players coming through. A whole generation of Lions and Suns knows nothing of what that is like. Dayne Beams and Michael Barlow have both done yeoman service at the Lions and Suns in recent years to try and redress this, but the young players at both clubs are showing for me what is a disconcerting lack of development, relative to what other clubs are getting out of their young players. Footballing knowledge amongst the couple hundred or so players in AFL is an ongoing biological hive mind that is passed on down through generations of players orally, physically, mentally, demonstrably - there are some things that a player will only learn out in the middle of the field, far from any coaches or assistant about himself and his fellow men, some things that would relate to experiencing profound levels of physical and mental stress beyond the knowledge of relatively few humans. And yet sometimes we simply trust that every young footballer is going to be able to handle, process and deal with these experiences in the long run and it will all work out. Well, I have little faith that the young players coming through the Lions and Suns are going to grow to higher standards of mental and physical discipline and determination than young players from interstate clubs with immeasurably more passion, support and knowledge to draw from in and around their clubs, and certainly far more chance of developing the ingrained hunger and desire to win that truly marks elite AFL players from the rest.

    I don’t see the situation in Queensland changing any time soon.

    The two sides will continue to be hamstrung by having to share local talent they both desperately need. They will continue to be unable to attract free agents that have the option of playing anywhere else, this has been amply demonstrated to be the case in the past and will undoubtedly continue. Unless the AFL continues to take responsibility for helping fund quality off-field staff with the salaries needed to get them here, both clubs will struggle to keep up with best practices in bigger, higher profile clubs. They’re both going to have to cross their fingers and hope like hell a glut of excellent young players come through the academy system over coming years, and hope like hell some of these players they’ve picked up and already resigned develop into everything they promised to be when they were drafted. They’re going to have to not just get a lot better themselves - but a lot of other clubs are going to have to get a lot worse as well. And who from the 14 or so teams in finals consideration at the start of 2018 is going to regress to the point where the Lions or Suns could start beating them regularly, even with improvement? And then finally - even if either club somehow makes the 8 in the next few years, what chance do you give them of going through all that again, but hungrier, and wanting it more? I don’t see it. I will bet money the next time a Queensland side makes the 8, they won’t make it next season.

    Put simply, a lot of things are going to have to go right. Historically they haven’t. And I’ve seen little in recent years to convince me that state of affairs is going to change anytime soon. These two clubs are the equivalent of the low income unskilled worker in any economic model, who is held in place by forces beyond their control, regardless of their individual effort or commitment. The interesting part now is how long the AFL waits before admitting that they’ve still got a problem up here and make another intervention. I rather suspect it’s going to take 3-4 years of Fagan and Dew not making finals or coming close before they get to that stage. Now that’s a depressing prospect. Seems as good a point as any to end on.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2018

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  2. Gadzorks

    Gadzorks Club Legend

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    Maybe it's the late hour but this is really really depressing and spot on.

    GC definitely killed us - not just the fans though as we directly lost players and GC diluted the effect of any discontents that wanted to escape Melbourne, which helped to nail us to the bottom of the table. I believe that we will now always be a feeder team for the (mostly) Victorian clubs. To stay attached to the AFL business, it will be watch our youngster start with us and be prepared to follow that player as they advance their career at another club. Personally, I love the game and have felt attachment to a few players that move (even going to lower level games to watch ex-pro players) but not enough to cope with that scenario being permanent.

    I've mentioned previously that my family, who are all gold members, are not convinced that hanging on is worth the ride. We have 8 tickets so 24 seats in the first 3 home games and we filled 14 of them (8, 4 and 2 respectively) and couldn't give the rest away. The in-law part of the next generation do not want to be included as they are not AFL players themselves and have not enjoyed the few games we have dragged them to in the past 2 years. I am not confident that I can continue to make the Lions our family fun night and may well end up with my own 3 game membership and 1 to share with whoever I can drag along to keep me company.
     
  3. jjami15

    jjami15 Premiership Player

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    Let's not forget that Qld has one of the highest Auskick rates in the country but then why does it fall away? Would also like to add growing up on the GC and playing Aussie Rules as a kid we were all expats mainly from Vic and I now work in education and this is still mainly true.

    The AFL also haven't taken into account the absolute distaste that a large majority of Qlders have for Australian Rules and still to this day hear the same negatives, GAYFL (they would be loving the Natanui situation) and aerial ping pong.

    The biggest issue is when they brought in the two teams is they should have had the kahunas to move two teams out of Vic to weaken the monopoly that exists down there.
     
  4. Carlos Danger

    Carlos Danger Club Legend

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    I thought when we beat Fremantle last year they were in the 8 at the time
     
  5. DERRINALPHIL

    DERRINALPHIL All Australian

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    I think you need to mention that the Suns and Greater Western Sydney destroyed the draft for a few years as far as the Lions were concerned. Otherwise this was a marvellous essay and could you provide links to your other articles.
     
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  6. MSB ROYS

    MSB ROYS Norm Smith Medallist

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    Great article Paul.

    Not enough due diligence and different scenario planning was done by the AFL. They always see things from a Victorian perspective as you rightly note.
     
  7. Kernel Kurtz

    Kernel Kurtz All Australian

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    I'm thinking your family will be back with passion before the seasons out.
    I can relate 100% with you.
    I have taken mates /friends to a number of games , and these people are league fans first but also love sport in general.

    Burnt them more times than not with us not even been in the contest , so little to no atmosphere , more turnovers and poor skills .
    Probably around 7 games and no wins , just maybe one game which was close( St Kilda 2012).
    I said to them after 2016 season wait until we are more consistent and improved .
    Hopefully witness something like the game on the weekend and show them a bloody fine example of how exiting and skilled the game is.
    So much better than f..g Rugby League.

    I truly believe we have turned the corner this year , still behind from where we should be imo but we are not far away from being more CONSISTENT and finally winning games.
    That is the key to getting people back at he Gabba , CONSISTENTLY getting games where we are in the game, great skills , bloody good contest or even better and we win .
    I've put the word out to the boys to come to the Hawks game , but if they go and we play poorly , it's another game they have watched where there is little atmosphere .
    I'm hoping for a good showing from the boys this weekend , equal to the Pies game .
    Then I might be confident to take the mates, and the Gabba with a decent crowd above 20,000 to watch us compete with one of the power clubs of the AFL.
    We just need to keep all these boys together and add a few top ups on the way and we'll be there quicker than we can imagine.

    To Paul I think we have turned that corner, hang in mate.
    Brisbane Lions are here to stay.

    Here's hoping for a win this weekend.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2018
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  8. jason pm

    jason pm Brownlow Medallist

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    Great article Paul_D , where do your articles appear? Would love to read more.

    I disagree with you though on the prospect of sustained success for the Lions, the recruitment of Chris Fagan, David Noble and with more emphasis placed on player development and probably more importantly welfare (Scott Borlace, Paul Henriksen, Zane Littlejohn, Andrew Crowell) we are in the best place we have been on and off field since the glory years IMO. Young elite high draft pick recruits are signing extensions (except Schache*) early and en masse. There is a steely resolve for success through the whole club ATM. If sustained competitiveness does not come via the present model I have no idea where we go from there and I'll admit my present view was misguided and wrong.

    The Suns on the other hand, I couldn't agree more, it was a stupendously stupid decision to bring them into the competition, the AFL completely misread the situation up here, nothing demonstrates the folly more than these 2 sentences from your article which starkly highlights the supporter base dilution.

    A good 10,000 fans disappeared from the Gabba each and every week in 2011 compared to 2010. So far they have not yet returned.

    * Schache did sign an extension:rolleyes:
     
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  9. Carlos Danger

    Carlos Danger Club Legend

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    I skim read a lot of it as it's too long for me :)
    There's no hiding from the fact the AFL hasn't done as much to help us as it has other clubs in the last 10 years.

    However I think we can build a finals team in brisbane. Even under current conditions.

    Aside from the many issues you mentioned that didn't help us I still attribute the majority of blame to 3 decisions the club made;

    1. Trading for fevola - gave away too much for someone who was clearly on the scrapheap. Didnt help club culture either. Throw in the rest of the trading bonanza it set us back

    2. Sacking Voss when we did. If we sacked him after fevola blew up that would be one thing. But he was winning games & they sacked him with no plan. It was get roos with no fallback for if that didn't happen

    3. Leppa. Terrible coach. Most of his wins came against rank awful teams if he was in charge on this year's comp with no bad teams we wouldn't win a game all year. And did nothing to fix our previously self created culture issues.

    So roughly 2010 - 2016 we did nothing right.

    If we can string a couple more years of smart decisions together we might just find ourselves a competitive club again.
     
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  10. Tassie4ever

    Tassie4ever Club Legend

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    Agree with every word. The establishment of the GC has had another unintended consequence. The game in Tassie is near death. The only thing keeping the heart ticking there is local, and I mean local, football. With the drift in focus, the AFL has taken its eye off the ball in Tassie and it is having a devastating impact. It's very sad to watch a once proud producer of champions cannibalising itself.

    I've said for years that the Lions recruitment emphasis should be on taking Queenslanders and Tasmanians. And there must be some sort of official recognition of this in the drafting process, regardless of the inevitable reaction from Eddie. Speaking of cheating, if you looked at Sunday's game closely, it swung on the outstanding skills of a couple imports Collingwood pinched from interstate. We should be so lucky.

    The only thing that gives me heart is a local story. A family member plays Auskick for the Jindalee Jags [on the growth chart he may be 198cm tall] . A few years back the Jags was a club on its last legs. Not now. There are hundreds and hundreds of male and female players who every week play in every age group. Games scheduled from Friday nights through the weekend. I see many young kids who show promise, with good coaching. The Auskick concept is just terrific. Some of these kids will progress, just by weight of numbers. We should benefit- key word, should.

    I first saw Voss play underage football for his school in an irregular competition for his private school. His ability was even then very obvious, but as my son and I often go back there were at least 3 better players in this comp who somehow escaped the net. The point- I don't know how good the Lions' scouting is now but it wasn't real good back then.

    Re the reference to Lions players just skating along without any real peer pressure- this is one of my and others' constant references here. You see it every weekend. Retirees I call them, just plugging along with no real downside. At the risk of total feedback meltdown I give you Daniel Rich. He IS capable of hard football, as he showed last year when given a roost by Fagan. However last weekend he demonstrated all his usual deficiencies. Just will not commit to the hard ball. The kids observe- well, he's a senior, that's the way it is here at the Lions. Same with Mayes who could, maybe still will, be anything. Just drifting along. Maybe an offer from interstate sometime from someone who can see my obvious brilliance. To be absolutely fair, Fagan has marked a line in the sand with Mayes.

    Maybe with a new training centre, new admin, improvement from the McCluggage's, Rayner, Berry etc. Fagan. Let's hope. I agree with the above- just not anytime soon.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2018
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  11. Gadzorks

    Gadzorks Club Legend

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    Another thought re fan attendance. I believe weather has an impact eg suns supports have great weather and choose between transport difficulties and watching uninspiring afl or easier transport (tram and car parks) and spend the time swimming/walking/running/playing on the beach/fishing/boating and following up with a beer at a surf club with a billion dollar view. They can record the game and if the match reports are favourable and watch it from the comfort of their favourite chair, drinking inexpensive (relatively)booze from their fridge.

    It's the same in Brisbane - every weekend parks, playgrounds, sports ovals and walking paths as well as waterways are brimming with people actually doing stuff.

    For the average sports watcher it needs to be an interesting game to get them to give up the alternatives and neither team have provided that in recent times.
     
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  12. Paul_D

    Paul_D Rookie

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    You're right - I was looking at the ladder progression for round 12 after we beat them, not before. They were in 8th place when we played them, 10th after and never made it back into the 8 after then. Kind of a statistical anomaly really, given they finished 14th. I will reword that

    Some great comments so far all - thanks, it's great to hear other people's stories. Gadzorks, you have my sympathies, and I do agree wholeheartedly that the range of alternatives available to people up here means footy is an afterthought for a lot of people. I did find your comments about your struggles attracting new fans to the game interesting, I'm going to try to include something about that as well. You're right, for someone with no real idea about the game going along to a stadium for 3 hours and watching a game that's over after 15 minutes wouldn't be much fun at all. Hell of an incentive to find an alternative activity, isn't it, if it means you avoid repeating that.

    My other stuff is here - I know there's things I've glossed over like the draft etc, I guess I've been writing about them for a while on that page and I tend to just refer people back to a previous piece for info on that, rather than keep rehashing the same foundational material over and over. It's an ongoing saga.

    https://www.theroar.com.au/author/pauld/
     
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  13. knaf

    knaf Club Legend

    Brisbane Lions
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    Great article. Can I make a minor comment which in no way detracts from your major contentions. I think Queensland is the most decentralised mainland state. I thought Tassie forever might have picked you up on this.

    In terms of the Lions creating our own mess, I think you have to add lack of Board leadership and issues with financial management post 2004. Apologies if that’s in the article and I missed it.
     
    MSB ROYS likes this.
  14. Tassie4ever

    Tassie4ever Club Legend

    Brisbane Lions
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    You are absolutely correct- Tassie is by far the most decentralised State. Being so decentralised brings with it major problems, however- the North and North West of the State continually demand their fair share of the sporting spoils. Politics being what it is, then this is what often happens.

    This syndrome can be overcome- eg, it wasn't until cricket centralised in Hobart, against great opposition it should be said, that the State side began to be successful.

    I still believe that if we adopt a long-term view the Lions can be successful. Queensland sides have shown this in ARL. Put the building blocks in place. Ie- good coaching- tick. Good training facilities- future tick. Lock in key player contracts- mostly tick. Drop those who won't totally commit and play only those who will, regardless of pedigree- beginnings of a tick. Establish a solid financial pipeline- remains to be seen at Springfield. Recruit mostly locals or Tasmanians- ????
     
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  15. Paul_D

    Paul_D Rookie

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    I don't want to be dismissive of your plight but I think you're vastly overstating your case and vastly understating the same issues Queensland faces.
     
  16. spotthedog1

    spotthedog1 Club Legend

    Brisbane Lions
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    Interesting article. Much more of an Editorial style to it, but there's nothing wrong with that. Some really good historical information there.

    That said, I'd suggest that an article looking at the cause for Brisbane's woes and not considering loss of talent (teenagers returning to parents, unfair trading rules resulting in low compensation) is missing something major. Particularly noting that first round talent has a significantly higher return-home rate than other rounds of draftees - I'd suggest due to higher confidence in their desirability given their status as a high pick. Not to mention the well-known frequency with which Vic/SA/WA clubs deliberately try to lure interstate draftees back to their home states.
     
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  17. winged1

    winged1 Premiership Player

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    The jags had some strong leadership from a couple of presidents and also were the best run when forest lake, Springfield and Ipswich all hit problems.

    Has been a credit to them.... if only they had a decent clubhouse.
     
  18. Tassie4ever

    Tassie4ever Club Legend

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    What have you got against besser blocks and storage containers?

    Sent from my SM-N920I using Tapatalk
     
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  19. Albi_Mangler

    Albi_Mangler All Australian

    Brisbane Lions
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    Great article Paul. I enjoy your contributions on The Roar.

    One of the major detractors I have found attempting to introduce qlders to the game is the rules - explaining the rules and then the inconsistent interpretation of these rules by the refs. It really is a sport dominated by referee involvement. I think there is an average of 40 free kicks per game. Soccer and basketball is around 20 and more often than not it is pretty clear the reason for the free kick/foul.

    Tbh i find myself becoming disinterested in the game as a whole due to inconsistent referee interpretation of these rules. Not sure there is any other sport that is so over officiated by ticy-tac and interpretational rules.
     
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  20. zorko_vosso

    zorko_vosso Draftee

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    Not sure if this gets discussed much but I have always been baffled that the Suns were seemingly created out of nothing when Southport have been around for decades, are hugely successful and have a pretty big membership base. Apparently they have been bidding to join the AFL since the 90s as well. Seems like a kick in the teeth to a well established base of Aussie Rules fans in a League dominated state.
     
  21. irish

    irish Premiership Player

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    Well done , lot of work and soul gone into that post
     
  22. acuguy

    acuguy Norm Smith Medallist

    Brisbane Lions
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    Tassie, i played in that irregular competition and i was fortunate enough to watch Michael Voss as a junior being a couple of years younger than him and playing at Morningside. I can assure you, actually i can guarantee you that there wasn't 3 better players in the universe than Michael Voss as an underage footballer. To this day, i doubt there has been a junior footballer dominate the game like Voss did. I can't remember the last time a midfielder kicked 14 goals in a Teal Cup equivalent game. The bloke was a genius.

    Just on the state of AFL footy in QLD, the game is so healthy at a local level, there are more and more clubs popping up everywhere. The number of kids playing AFL in schools has increased 20 fold in my time. I am not willing to blame the AFL for anything. Our club woes are due to poor management and a lack of process in the selection of the senior coach. You make your own bed in this world.
     
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  23. kenberger

    kenberger Team Captain

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    Would love to see whether the rate of support for the Lions at Brisbane Auskick and jnr football level has decreased over this tough period. During my time as a jnr through our golden era, I’d say there were more interstate supporters than Lions supporters despite all being Queenslanders.

    Great article- outlook is not so gloomy for mine but lots of good points and the first super long post on BF I could get through without being bored
     
    DERRINALPHIL likes this.
  24. winged1

    winged1 Premiership Player

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    I know the choice was clubhouse or second field lights, but you can't drink in the middle of a field.... well you can but it is frowned upon in polite society.
     
  25. Kernel Kurtz

    Kernel Kurtz All Australian

    Brisbane Lions
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    Funny you say this , yesterday I was thinking the same their clubhouse is well patronized and well positioned to locals.
    Makes sense to elevate an existing team being successful at the lower level , bringing history and tradition than as you say create a team out of nothing.
    To hear they have made previous attempts to step up and denied is mind boggling.
     
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