Round 12 – Brisbane v Fremantle: Absolute despair

Absolute Despair
Brisbane vs Fremantle
June 11th 4.30pm Gabba
Andrew Weiss
I can still remember as a young lad supporting the so-called “Bad News Bears”. That is what the name the Brisbane Bears were referred to when they first started back in the 80’s. It was a team that looked like they had no real hope, playing in front of small crowds down at Carrara Oval and on a regular basis losing to the opposition by huge margins. There was a lot of despair for anyone who supported them back then, with the general consensus that there was no real light at the end of the tunnel. Then in the late 90’s a feeling of despair had again engulfed me. Even though the Brisbane Bears had amalgamated with the Fitzroy Lions the team was again languishing at the bottom of the table with no real hope in sight. That was until Leigh Matthews was appointed coach and it all turned around with the Lions winning three premierships in a row.


This year unfortunately those dark clouds of despair have started to hover over this Brisbane Lions supporter once again and it got even gloomier after the Lions absolute capitulation to Fremantle. I will admit there were rays of optimism shining through at the start of the season. The Lions had recruited some experienced players and got a good crop of credentialed young talent through the draft. An excellent win against the Gold Coast and commendable performances against Sydney and Hawthorn gave a supporter like me some hope, thinking that there could well be light again at the end of the tunnel.


The first ten minutes of the game that feeling of optimism grew in this Lions supporter as Schache, Rich and Lewis Taylor kicked the first three goals. The run and carry play the Lions were exhibiting was exciting and gave an insight into what the future may look like. For the first time this season the Lions were capitalising on the scoreboard and there was a real expectation that a second win for the season was on the cards.


Then it was if the Dockers woke up from their slumber after completing the longest trip in the AFL to realise that if they played well they could themselves chalk up their second win for the season – and that is exactly what they did. The Dockers ran rampant over the next quarter and a half kicking nine unanswered goals to open up a 45-point break at half time. The dark clouds of despair had well and truly come into the thoughts of every Lions supporter whether sitting in their lounge rooms around the country or at the Gabba itself. There are a scattering of boos from the crowd as players walk off the ground at half time. The boos are not for the umpires, but rather directed at the Lions players as their spectators lose all hope in their team.


As Fremantle continued to play as if it meant something, the Lions were pathetic in the second half. The Brisbane players did not look like they were playing for Leppitsch, the jumper, themselves or their teammates as a fellow cellar-dweller Fremantle made the Lions look like glorified traffic cones. Even though the Dockers have fallen from a great height themselves in a much shorter time period, their supporters can at least take some good things from the game. Matt Taberner was a better than a capable target up forward, in the absence of a resting Matthew Pavlich, kicking five goals in what could be a break out game for him. Chris Mayne kicked four and found space with embarrassing ease. Then there were the Dockers players in the midfield who simply worked harder for longer and reaped the rewards. Michael Barlow took on Daniel Rich and while Rich wasn’t Brisbane’s worst, he again barely impacted the contest after quarter time. Lachie Weller was clean and cool and finished with four goals. There looked like there could be a bright future for Fremantle.


As the match meandered to its conclusion, I slumped in my chair with despair and anguish. The same thing was occurring with the fans that were still there at the Gabba, with anger also coming to the surface. We are all wondering when our club’s day, let alone era, would come again. There is no doubt that the Lions list is raw. There is no doubt that they are not the most skilled bunch going around. I do agree that there is some talent coming through, with the likes of Josh Schache, Harris Andrews, Tom Cutler and Ben Keays. But by the end of the game, as Fremantle the 16th-placed side on the ladder opened up a near-100 point margin on the Lions, the shining rays of optimism had well and truly been covered up by the dark clouds of despair. If there is a light at the end of the tunnel for the Brisbane Lions and its supporters, unfortunately I would say it has now has become that proverbial train.



BRISBANE LIONS   3.3   4.6    7.6   9.10   (64)
FREMANTLE            3.3   12.3    18.7   23.8   (147)         


Brisbane Lions:
 Schache 2, Cutler 2, Taylor 2, Rich, Bewick, Bastinac
Fremantle: Taberner 5, Mayne 4, Weller 4, Ballantyne 4, Tucker 2, Suban, Smith, Sheridan, Walters


Brisbane Lions:
 Robinson, Bewick, Cutler, Hanley
Fremantle: Taberner, Barlow, Mayne, Weller, Hill, Blakely, Pearce
Umpires: O’Gorman, Findlay, Ryan

Official crowd: 12,899 at the Gabba


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About Andrew Weiss

Andrew is one of the few Brisbane Lions supporters that lives in the Adelaide Hills. He still has bragging rights over any Crows or Port supporter by mentioning the back to back to back premierships the Lions achieved in 2001-2003. After playing for over a decade for the mighty Adelaide Lutheran Football Club better known as 'The Doggies' he now spends his Saturdays running around footy ovals as an umpire, getting abuse no matter what decision is made. Coaching is probably next on the agenda as his two sons have started to play the great game of AFL. Andrew is a sports fanatic who when not watching or reading about sport is teaching secondary students about Biology, Nutrition and Psychology.


  1. Well done,Weisey fair bit of character to do a write up on that performance if ever a game where it looked like the coach had well and truly lost the players it was this one.

  2. Peter Schumacher says

    Absolutely spot on, it’s worse than barracking for Richmond.

  3. John Butler says

    Tough times Andrew.

    I was reading Lethal Leigh’s autobiography a while back. It’s obvious from his sentiments that Brisbane’s relationship with the AFL fell apart during 2004. He still seems aggrieved.

    As a Carlton man, I can vouch that when you fall out with the AFL there will be a price to pay. Your player allowance went soon after, and you’ve struggled to retain players ever since.

    Of course, Vossy’s ill-fated recruitment drive after 2009 didn’t help.

    But as a Carlton man, I can at least say it can turn round quicker than you think. But hard decisions have to be made.


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