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It’s time to roar again….

It’s been a long, hard summer.

We’ve had to endure 5 cricket test matches, countless ODI’s and T20’s against the Pom’s.

We’ve had trade week and draft week and a game in China.  We’ve had the NAB Cup and a couple of new sides show us that an 18 team comp in 2012 will be ok.

We’ve had off field issues galore as well.  They don’t need to be brought up here.  You know what they are and who was involved.  Let’s leave that behind.

No, today this post is about Season 2011, when the mighty Brisbane Lions will roar again.

This time last week I was very disillusioned with my club over the Fevola issue. This was days after a very ordinary performance against Essendon and St Kilda in the NAB Cup.  Ok so a lot of teams field the kids in these games and with Black, Brown, Power, Drummond, Charman all missing I didn’t expect to win but I always expect a competitive team who wear the Lions jersey.  They got flogged and while there were glimpses of what could be, there simply wasn’t the skills needed at this level.

Then something awesome happened. I stumbled upon this video released by the Brisbane Lions in preparation for the new season ahead.

WOW!  It blew me away. The headlines were exactly what I would have expected from the horror year that was 2010.  We were a shambles and despite a solid 4 from 4 start we went on to win only three more games for the year.

Many Lions fans were discontent and frustrated by our footy club.

We do have short memories.  In 1998, the Brisbane Lions were a laughing stock.  Expected to be ultra competitive with the merging of the the Bears and Fitzroy Lions the team didn’t gel and they fell apart.  Enter master coach Leigh Matthews and like the video says, the rest is history.

If we were a rabble in 1998 and we were definitely a rabble in 2010. Then we can definitely be a force in 2011.  I don’t expect a premiership this year or even next year.  I do expect a competitive footy team who will wear the maroon jersey with pride.

I hear you say that it is a totally different team from 1998.  There is no Voss (as a player), no Aker or Scott twins.  No McRae or White or Mal Michael.  No Martin Pike and no Shaun Hart and there is certainly no Bradshaw and Lynch.  This is true.  This core group that helped us win 3 premierships in a row.  It was a special group but in 1998 we just didn’t know how good they would become.

In 2011 we have arguably the best player in the game in Jonathan Brown. We have a midfield that still has a Brownlow medallist in Simon Black.  Luke Power is still playing great footy and with a midfield comprising Rich and Adcock we have the ability to get the ball into the forward 50 to players liked Todd Banfield who can kick goals.

Our defence is pretty good too being led by super boot Josh Drummond who will be ably assisted by Ash McGrath, Daniel Merrett, Brent Staker and Joel Patfull.

Our ruck stocks look good too with Matthew Leuenberger and Mitch Clark with potentially Jamie Charman contributing as well.

We have the playing stock.  It’s up to Vossy and the coaching panel to deliver a game plan and instill belief in the boys.

Just remember we are the MIGHTY BRISBANE LIONS.  We never give up.  We have pride and power and the will to win. While there is a breath in our bodies, we will continue to fight for each win.  While we are still over that white line and the clock is still ticking, we will strive for what is ours.  While the crowd continues to cheer we will continue to fight for that crowd.  We are the MIGHTY BRISBANE LIONS.

It’s time to ROAR again.

I BELIEVE!

Do you?

Please rate this post out of 5 stars and leave a comment if you feel compelled. Thanks for reading!

The Fev


Wayward Brisbane Lions full forward, Brendan Fevola has been sacked by the Brisbane Lions after a courtship of just over a year.

I want to look at this from two angles.  The first being from a humanitarian point of view and the second from a football only point of view.

First off we have to remember that Brendan Fevola is a human being and like most of us, he has his failings and flaws. The problem is that his are right in the eye of the public with the media eager to pounce onto any indiscretions.  That makes it hard to begin with.

When I make a mistake, mostly I make the mistake in anonymity to the public and only answer to my friends and family.  Professional sports people answer to the public, media, sponsors etc.  You could argue that if it wasn’t for the media broadcasting these stories that hardly anyone would know about them.  Other than a select few who saw Fev arrested would know so perhaps the media sometimes make a story somewhat bigger than it actually is.

Fev is in this trouble due to football.  I don’t think there is any doubt about that. Of course we don’t know if he wouldn’t have had similar issues if instead of being a professional footballer he was a chippy or a real estate agent or a doctor.  Football pays and pays well.  This contributed to his gambling issues. Plus the drinking and the Lara Bingle issue where an everyday Joe who looks like Fev, would have no chance of picking up someone like her.  Ok, that’s a stretch but you get where I am coming from.

So if football caused these issues, then isn’t up to football to also fix these issues?  It starts back at Fev’s first club at Carlton.  They had a very loose leash on him and more often than not, he got away with so much.  They finally had enough and orchestrated a trade to Brisbane.  Brisbane knowing the troubles Fev has had, still signed him to a 3 year deal with no behaviour clauses in his contract.  That means Brisbane either thought that Fev would behave or they would work with him when he didn’t.

As history now shows us, he didn’t behave though it could be argued that a lot of his issues in Brisbane were not his fault or were sins from the past.  Lara Bingle happened years ago but the photo in question appeared last season.  The gambling addiction began in Melbourne.  The lewd charge was dismissed due to a lack of evidence, and I doubt he did it anyway. His passport and other documents were found in a park and the kind guy who found them also thought it best if he called Channel 9 and have them broadcast him returning it.  It was the lead story that day!  He was drunk on New Year’s Eve, made a dick of himself and got arrested.  Probably along with 100 other drunken fools that night anyway, but due to his high profile his arrest ends up as the top news story for the day, again!

So Fev goes into rehab for seven weeks and within days of coming out, the Lions sack him.  If football caused all of these issues, then the Lions should have kept him close to the club.  Given him a goal to return to footy after round 8 or something but placed very strict conditions on him doing so.  They should have continued his counselling and given him the tools to overcome his addictions and troubles.  They should have done a lot of things but instead they chose to sack him, but with the promise they will continue to support him.  What rubbish!  They have washed their hands of him and will be glad to see him board a flight to Melbourne and never come back.

Football caused the issue and it appears as though football won’t solve the issue.

Now from a Brisbane Lions football point of view I have some issues.

I am a long time Lions fan and have supported them since day one.  I am a Lions tragic and when Fev was being offered up for trade and Brisbane threw their hat in the ring, I was pissed.  Really pissed off because I didn’t want him to come here.  We already had a good forward line with Brown and Bradshaw and I thought that his off field dramas would cause issues, which of course now has proven to be right.  The trade which brought him to Brisbane initially involved a Lions legend in Bradshaw and quality mid fielder, Michael Rischitelli being used as trade bait.  The deal never happened with both Bradshaw and Rischa refusing to go to Carlton but it left a dirty taste in both their mouths and Bradshaw quit the club immediately and went to Sydney while Rischa played out his final year and couldn’t get to the new Gold Coast team quick enough.  We also lost the up and coming forward Lachie Henderson and an early round draft pick for Fev.  We paid a HIGH price for Fev and we got 17 games and 40 odd goals from him in one season.

The issue with sacking him is that the Lions will still need to pay out his contract, believed to be about $1.5 million over the next 2 years of Fev’s contract.  The 2011 list is complete and therefore we will be without a quality forward for the entire year. So essentially $750,000 for season 2011 of Fev’s salary is gone. Poof.  Up in smoke.  We get zero return on investment for it.

Sure we can trade again after the end of this season and pick up another forward if that is where the list manager wants to go, but we will still have $750,000 less to spend next year paying out the third year of Fev’s contract.  So chances are we won’t be targeting a high profile forward for 2012 either.

It gets worse.  Due to the high value placed on Fev’s contract it is likely we will not be able to afford to keep some off contract (2011) players such as Daniel Rich and Mitch Clark.  Both were in the media during the last trade period about leaving Brisbane due to not getting the money they are probably entitled to, so due to having $1.5 million dollars already accounted for in the salary cap, we will most likely lose these two quality players as well.

It is likely this decision to sack Fev and indeed recruit him in the first place, will have team and results ramifications for a few more years yet.  It might be 5 years before we can recover from it.

Brisbane should have stuck with Fev.  They should have put him out on the paddock and trained his arse off.  They should have given him all types of conditions, which I understand Fev asked for on Sunday anyway.  If he screwed up again, then sack him.  Get him into the 2nds for 6 weeks to get him some match fitness and then around round 8, bring him into the team and let him do what he does best.  Kick goals!

He would have too I reckon.

Seven weeks in rehab is a long time to do a lot of thinking.  He had never done that before and I reckon he would have weighed it all up and worked out that he loved footy.  I reckon he would have pulled his shit together and finished his career on top.  Now unfortunately his AFL career is over and he will always be remembered for the negatives, not for the freakish ability he had as a footy player.  He deserved better and I expected better from my footy club as well.

Queensland has shown this year how it responds to natural disasters but when it became to hard to deal with Fev, none of that Queensland spirit was on display.  He was punted and abandoned and we will never know if Fev was ever worth the price we paid to get him.

I’ll always love the Brisbane Lions but my pride in them has been dented in the last two seasons.  Firstly by how they handled the whole trade period at the end of the 2009 season which got Fevola to the Lions in the first place, but also by how they have kicked a mate while he is down.  There is no Queensland spirit in this decision and that makes me sad.

I wish Fev the best of luck and hope he sorts out his issues soon.  His young family needs him to.  Fev needs to for himself as well.

Please rate this post out of 5 stars and leave a comment if you feel compelled. Thanks for reading!

AFL Grand Final – In 3D

Earlier this year, I watched the Rugby League State Of Origin – Game 3 in 3D at the cinema.  You can read about that here.

For the first time, the AFL (Australian Football League) got in on the act and telecast the 2010 AFL Grand Final in 3D.  Yesterday’s game between the highly fancied Collingwood Magpies and last year’s Runners Up, the St Kilda Saints was attended by over 100,000 people at a sold out MCG but by millions across Australia and around the world.  It is the biggest day on the Australian sporting calendar and I wanted to experience it for the first time in 3D on the big screen.

As with the State of Origin match it was difficult to get use to the new angles.  As 3D images are gathered using different cameras to 2D, it meant that the usual angles you are use to when watching the standard 2D games are no longer available so it takes some time to get used to it.

While the images are sharp and in your face and 20 feet tall on the cinemas big screen, and while the surround sound makes it sound like you are actually at the stadium, there is something missing.

The commentators commentate not only by what they are seeing live, but they are also commentating on what they are seeing on their monitors, and their monitors are using the 2D feed, not the 3D feed.  So at times during the commentary they will be making mention of something which we just aren’t seeing.

With fewer cameras in the 3D broadcast we missed images all game of the coaches who add a lot of theatre to the game through their emotions when things don’t quite go right.  The throwing down of headphones, the curse words that any good lip reader can pick up, the angry faces getting redder and redder as the game progresses.  In the case of Collingwood and their famous president, Eddie Maguire who, from his seat in the stands, shows so much emotion when his team does not do well as was evidenced in the 2002 and 2003 Grand Finals when his team lost both years to the then mighty Brisbane Lions.  I missed these images in the 3D broadcast.

As this was Channel 7’s first 3D AFL broadcast the guys who control what we watch in the broadcast centre, ie the game day directors, are different as well.  You know the guy who says “switch to camera 1, now 3, go to camera 12, switch back to 3, now the coaches box camera……”  Well they are two different directors and therefore 2 different perspectives.  I also think that as 3D broadcasting is new in Australia and this was the first ever 3D broadcast of AFL, that the 3D director is not actually an Aussie who doesn’t understand the game.   I could be wrong on this one.

The atmosphere is good though.  It is great to watch the game on a massive screen with other people clapping and showing their respective support for their team.  Add in popcorn, chips and drinks and it rivals any Grand Final party at home which are held all across Australia.

So today I watched the replay which I had recorded in high definition on my 50” Panasonic Viera Plasma.  I saw the reactions from the coaches.  I saw Eddie Maguire blowing a gasket.   I heard the commentators comments match what was being shown on the screen.  I saw the game from a different angle.  I watched the game with far more cameras capturing a lot more images and emotions from the crowd.  I also saw that there were cameras at outside broadcast spots in and around Melbourne and it was great to see the fans who didn’t make it to the ground, enjoying the game in their thousands.

What makes AFL great is not just the game itself but the raw emotion that this great sport generates through its fans.  AFL in the southern states of Australia is a religion.  From March to September each year it is most peoples main talking point.  They worship the players and they can’t wait for each week when their team plays.  I live in northern Australia where AFL is popular but doesn’t have the same religious feel that it does in Victoria, and I get caught up in it each week when my beloved Brisbane Lions play.  I want to see the emotion from the crowds and while 3D has a little bit of this, it doesn’t show enough.  Although there was one exception.  During some of the 3D angles there was this one St Kilda supporter in the crowd who was wearing a red T-Shirt and he always seemed to react to the big St Kilda moments before the rest of the supporters near him.  He was good theatre!

For those who have been living under a rock and don’t know the result.  Well it was an epic game of Aussie Rules.  Collingwood started the game strong and by half time led the Saints by 24 points.  St Kilda came back in the second half and finally hit the lead with about 7 minutes remaining, leading by 5 points after a Brendon Goddard high flying mark and goal.  The final 7 minutes was an arm wrestle with both teams trying to gain an edge.   Collingwood fought back again to take a one point lead through a goal to Cloke and then with about 90 seconds remaining, St Kilda scored a crucial point to level up the scores.  The last 90 seconds seemed like a year and at the end of it and with the scores tied at 68 all the first draw since 1977 and only the third in VFL/AFL history meant that we would be back again next Saturday to try and crown the premiers. Draws in AFL are rare with only 2 or 3 a year at the most.

When the final siren sounded there was a feeling around the cinema and at the ground that there should be extra time.  There isn’t and we reset for next weekend.  There will be extra time next week should the game end up as a draw again.  I don’t think the nation could take another tied result especially considering our federal election also ended up as draw in August.

I’ll be watching this one from home.  In high definition 2D with the camera angles I am used to which in all honesty is still pretty good compared to the grainy black and white images from a few decades ago.  It works for me.

What did you think of the game?  Happy with a rematch next week or do you think extra time should have played?  Did anyone watch it in 3D?  What were your thoughts?

A Different Kind of September

In Australia, September is the end of the football season for both AFL (Australian Rules Football) and the NRL (National Rugby League).  The season proper finishes in August and both codes conduct their finals series in September.

The AFL Grand Final is always played on the last Saturday in September and the NRL Grand Final traditionally was played on the last Sunday in September though this changed a few years ago and it is now played on the first Sunday in October but for all essences of this post, September is footy finals time.

This year is different.  For the first time in 19 years, one of my 2 teams is not featured in the September action.  I am one of the few Aussies that have a love of both codes.  For my American readers who don’t know the difference between the two, well I would need to write a book to tell you the differences, but in the interest of saving time either YouTube both games and see for yourself or trust me that both codes are worlds apart.  They have nothing in common.  Even the footballs used are different.

My team in the AFL is the Brisbane Lions.  I have been following them since 1987 when they first entered the competition.  They started off slowly; not winning a lot of games but by the mid to late 90’s started to see some early September action.  Then in 2001 they made the Grand Final and went on to win it and become the AFL Premiers – which is a very hard thing to achieve.  What makes the Brisbane Lions even more awesome is that they threepeated this achievement and also won the 2002 and 2003 premierships, plus they played in the 2004 Grand Final only to lose it to Port Adelaide.  So four Grand Finals in row and only the second team in history to do so. The Brisbane Lions were the greatest team in history and certainly of the new millennium.

Then we hit hard times.  With an ageing list, we missed the finals from 2005 to 2008 before welcoming September action again in 2009, making it into the second week of the 4 week finals campaign, which most Lions fans were satisfied with after the lean previous 4 years.  We started the 2010 season with four straight wins and high expectations only to win another 3 games for the year – in a 22 game season – and miss the finals again.

My team in the NRL is the Brisbane Broncos.  I have been following them since 1998 when they first entered the competition.  They started off with a bang winning many of their first games before faltering late in the year and just missing the finals in their maiden year.  In 1991 they made the finals and went on to the Grand Final and won by beating St George 28-8.  They came back to Brisbane to a hero’s welcome and went on to repeat this success the following year also against St George, this time in a close encounter, beating them 14-6.

Since their maiden premiership year in 1991, the Brisbane Broncos have featured in September finals every year, until this year.  During this 19 year run they won the premiership 6 times.  In addition to 1991 and 1992, they also w0n 1997, 1998, 2000 and 2006 making them the most successful club of the past 20 years.

The Broncos missed out on September action by only one game and all season I was confident of more September action.  The Lions missed out by about 5 games and I knew their September dream was over half way through the season.

The finals series this year have been interesting but I have been more of a casual observer with no real preference who wins.  I have only watched a couple of games live in both codes and haven’t been concerned about hearing scores before watching replays etc.  Without one of my two teams there, I just don’t really have the usual high amount of care factor.

This Saturday, is the 2010 AFL Grand Final and I will be watching this game in 3D at the cinema much like I watched the Rugby League State of Origin game 3 earlier this year.  You can read about that here.  The AFL Grand Final is a huge event and similar I guess to the Super Bowl in the NFL.  It doesn’t matter who plays in it each year, I always watch it.  This year, the team most Australian’s love to hate, Collingwood, who have won 14 premierships, the last of which in 1990, will be taking on St Kilda, who has won only one premiership, way back in 1966.  I would love to see St Kilda win it with a kick after full time.

Is that a little mean?  Probably.  Do I care?  Not at all.

Also this weekend is the penultimate round of NRL finals series with 4 teams left battling it out to earn a place in the following weeks Grand Final.  One of these 4 teams is the Gold Coast Titans who only joined the NRL in 2007 and are the only Queensland team left.  I will jump onto their bandwagon and hope that they can not only make the Grand Final but also win it.

But don’t worry.  As soon as the 2011 NRL and AFL seasons kick off again, I will be back on board the Broncos and the Lions.  After all, I’ve supported them for more than half my life.  I’ll stick with them through thick and thin, which I have also been through the years….currently at thick striving to get back to thin!

Enjoy the rest of the September action, especially if your team is still involved.

Who will win the AFL and NRL Grand Finals and how will you be watching the games this year?  BBQ?  Quietly at home?  Cinema like me?