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April 24, 2024

AFL Lions face challenge from NRL in Brisbane

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Despite the excitement surrounding the ‘Battle of Brisbane’ this Friday, the Lions are faced with two battles in the AFL on the south side of the river. It serves as an early-season barometer when Brisbane plays Melbourne at the Gabba at the same time as the Broncos play Dolphins at Suncorp Stadium.

AFL

For a side that is considered a premiership contender, the clash with Melbourne is an important challenge after last week’s disappointing loss to the Power in Adelaide. Brisbane, among recent exceptions, dropped its first two games in 2001 to reach the finals, although it is relatively rare in the AFL.

Queensland’s

This clash with the NRL is also a test for the AFL, which has talked proudly about establishing foothold in the northern state in the last month. AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan announced at the Malthouse theatre in March that the code was on its way to becoming Queensland’s biggest.

In order to accommodate the growth of Australian rules football in the Sunshine State, McLachlan said, “we know we need to build an oval every week, every week, to cater for that growth”. Especially in Queensland, where the AFL is on the brink of becoming the state’s largest code in a year or two, [participation] numbers are lifting above pre-Covid levels. Ten years ago, it would have been unthinkable.

Even though McLachlan’s proclamation seems theatrical, its raw numbers demonstrate that it is not ostentatious in any way. Last year, more than 55,000 AFL participants participated at grass roots level in Queensland, and the Lions had a record membership of 43,319. As a result, Queensland has more than doubled its tally from 2017, when they won the wooden spoon, and the importance of sustained success on the field is evident.

Andrew Wellington

According to Brisbane Lions chairman Andrew Wellington, the growth has been spectacular. We are on track to become the third largest AFL state within the next 12 months in terms of community participation rates. So we are going to pass South Australia. Despite [the fact] that New South Wales has a much larger population, we have more participants than us. It has been a great deal of success.”

The AFL promised to leave a lasting legacy in Queensland after the state rescued the code in the Covid-19 riddled season of 2020. While the AFL has already invested tens of millions in establishing the Gold Coast Suns, it has stayed true to its investment pledges ever since the historic grand final in 2020. A significant challenge in Queensland now is securing enough land to build the ovals needed to meet the surge in demand, particularly at junior level.

The Broncos recorded 30,221 members last year, while 32,117 Dolphins fans attended their game against the Sydney Roosters at Suncorp Stadium earlier in March.

As the Lions move into their new Springfield training facility, Wellington acknowledges that competition will increase.

Regardless

Regardless of whether concern is the right word, he said that we are in the sports entertainment market and every time a new product is introduced, competition increases. We understand that you compete for spectators and sponsors. But we can still grow the sporting market in Queensland together.

While he believes the state’s surf and sunshine make both codes thrive, he doubts the addition of a second NRL team will negatively impact the Lions.

We won’t see much direct impact on us, Wellington said. “I suspect the Broncos would feel it more,” Wellington said. It has created interest and we would be foolish to think that as it creates interest, rugby league won’t grow a little bit as a result. But I always tell people, ‘Look, success in one sport doesn’t have to come at the expense of another.’

Honestly

With the population growth in Queensland, rugby league has room to grow as well. Our success does not have to come at the expense of the sport.”

The more pressing challenge for Brisbane is squaring the win-loss ledger against Melbourne. The Demons won by 50 points against the Western Bulldogs, who are their 2021 grand final rivals. They had won four straight matches against the Lions leading up to a semi-final at the MCG last September, only for Brisbane to end their premiership defence before succumbing to eventual premiers Geelong.

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AFL Lions face challenge from NRL in Brisbane

Must read

Despite the excitement surrounding the ‘Battle of Brisbane’ this Friday, the Lions are faced with two battles in the AFL on the south side of the river. It serves as an early-season barometer when Brisbane plays Melbourne at the Gabba at the same time as the Broncos play Dolphins at Suncorp Stadium.

AFL

For a side that is considered a premiership contender, the clash with Melbourne is an important challenge after last week’s disappointing loss to the Power in Adelaide. Brisbane, among recent exceptions, dropped its first two games in 2001 to reach the finals, although it is relatively rare in the AFL.

Queensland’s

This clash with the NRL is also a test for the AFL, which has talked proudly about establishing foothold in the northern state in the last month. AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan announced at the Malthouse theatre in March that the code was on its way to becoming Queensland’s biggest.

In order to accommodate the growth of Australian rules football in the Sunshine State, McLachlan said, “we know we need to build an oval every week, every week, to cater for that growth”. Especially in Queensland, where the AFL is on the brink of becoming the state’s largest code in a year or two, [participation] numbers are lifting above pre-Covid levels. Ten years ago, it would have been unthinkable.

Even though McLachlan’s proclamation seems theatrical, its raw numbers demonstrate that it is not ostentatious in any way. Last year, more than 55,000 AFL participants participated at grass roots level in Queensland, and the Lions had a record membership of 43,319. As a result, Queensland has more than doubled its tally from 2017, when they won the wooden spoon, and the importance of sustained success on the field is evident.

Andrew Wellington

According to Brisbane Lions chairman Andrew Wellington, the growth has been spectacular. We are on track to become the third largest AFL state within the next 12 months in terms of community participation rates. So we are going to pass South Australia. Despite [the fact] that New South Wales has a much larger population, we have more participants than us. It has been a great deal of success.”

The AFL promised to leave a lasting legacy in Queensland after the state rescued the code in the Covid-19 riddled season of 2020. While the AFL has already invested tens of millions in establishing the Gold Coast Suns, it has stayed true to its investment pledges ever since the historic grand final in 2020. A significant challenge in Queensland now is securing enough land to build the ovals needed to meet the surge in demand, particularly at junior level.

The Broncos recorded 30,221 members last year, while 32,117 Dolphins fans attended their game against the Sydney Roosters at Suncorp Stadium earlier in March.

As the Lions move into their new Springfield training facility, Wellington acknowledges that competition will increase.

Regardless

Regardless of whether concern is the right word, he said that we are in the sports entertainment market and every time a new product is introduced, competition increases. We understand that you compete for spectators and sponsors. But we can still grow the sporting market in Queensland together.

While he believes the state’s surf and sunshine make both codes thrive, he doubts the addition of a second NRL team will negatively impact the Lions.

We won’t see much direct impact on us, Wellington said. “I suspect the Broncos would feel it more,” Wellington said. It has created interest and we would be foolish to think that as it creates interest, rugby league won’t grow a little bit as a result. But I always tell people, ‘Look, success in one sport doesn’t have to come at the expense of another.’

Honestly

With the population growth in Queensland, rugby league has room to grow as well. Our success does not have to come at the expense of the sport.”

The more pressing challenge for Brisbane is squaring the win-loss ledger against Melbourne. The Demons won by 50 points against the Western Bulldogs, who are their 2021 grand final rivals. They had won four straight matches against the Lions leading up to a semi-final at the MCG last September, only for Brisbane to end their premiership defence before succumbing to eventual premiers Geelong.

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