The diabolical situation which the once mighty Brisbane Broncos find themselves, is in stark contrast compared with the Brisbane Lions, who will again challenge for the AFL premiership in 2020.
Since the resumption of the competition in late-May, the Broncos have lost ten of their past 11 games and currently second last on the ladder.
They’re the only team to concede 400 points in the first 13 rounds. They’ve been ravaged with injuries. Several big money players are badly out of form. A sex tape involving one of their players has been leaked. A player has been handed a breach of contract notice for deliberately breaking COVID-19 rules. Head coach Anthony Seibold is under pressure to keep his job. He and other members of his coaching staff are in quarantine for breaching COVID-19 rules.
And that’s not even the full story.
Broncos fans are disgruntled, embarrassed and starved for success. But if they want success, their best chance is to jump ship to the other footy code, because the Lions are the team in Brisbane who are on the path to premiership glory.
The Lions finished second in 2019 and are currently second on the ladder after 11 rounds. Assuming the AFL can successfully work through their own COVID-19 issues, the Lions will be on track for another top four finish and they will be keen to make up for last year’s finals failure, where they were knocked out in straight-sets.
It’s hard not to like what coach Chris Fagan has built since taking the reins in 2017, turning the club from cellar dwellers to premiership contenders, whereas Broncos coach Anthony Seibold has overseen a club once regarded as the NRL’s flagship, to a diabolical basket case.
The Lions roster has the perfect balance of youth and experience. They have their x-factors and their workhorses. It’s a far cry from what the Broncos have done with their roster – top heavily with forwards and lacking experience.
The Lions are expanding their brand to include the western regions of Brisbane – one of the fastest growing regions in Australia – by setting up base in Springfield with a shiny new mini-stadium (The Reserve) under construction which is where the team will train and will be the home ground for the women’s AFLW side.
They have run community programs in rugby league heartland areas including Ipswich and Toowoomba, with the intention of converting thousands of kids who aspire to play NRL, to aspiring to become a Brisbane Lion.Embed from Getty Images
Not since the triple premiership days of 2001 to 2003 have the Lions delivered this much excitement to football fans in Brisbane. The Broncos have been Brisbane’s only hope of premiership success since the 2004 AFL grand final, but those tables have well and truly turned.
It might take a few years for the Broncos to rebuild, but the premiership window is wide open for the Lions, who will be looking to achieve sustained success for several years to come.
With the NRL looking to expand with a second Brisbane team, a Lions premiership will definitely hold them in good stead against two NRL clubs in regards to fan and corporate support.
But until that happens, there always has, and always will be enough room for both the Lions and Broncos in Brisbane, and Broncos fans don’t need to feel a sense of betrayal or question their own loyalty if they choose to follow the Lions on their journey to grand final day in October.
Broncos fans have always expected success throughout the clubs history. Anything less than being title contenders was not acceptable. But it is looking unlikely they will experience any form of success, at least not for the next couple of years.
The Lions want to share their success with everyone in Brisbane.
Despite current events, the Broncos will forever be Queensland’s flagship sporting club and it is inevitable they will bounce back. But in the meantime, while the club is at its lowest ebb, there is plenty of room on the Lions bandwagon if you need an endorphins boost from supporting a team that is winning.