The Pies’ most memorable wins over Brisbane (and Fitzroy) in the past 50 years

This article continues my occasional series on the most memorable wins the Pies have had against each other club in my footy watching lifetime, which began as a toddler in the mid-1960s.  In the lead-up to our game against Brisbane, today we look at the best wins the Pies have had against Brisbane/Fitzroy. I will cover four games, two in their incarnation as the Brisbane Lions, one when they were the Brisbane Bears playing out of Carrara, and given their 1990s merger, I will commence with a memorable win against Fitzroy.


The Pies had some epic tussles with Fitzroy, with three notable ones, the last of the three being the most famous in recent history, occurring in 1981. We opened our season at the Junction Oval, fielding ex-Royboy and later gun administrator Gubby Allan as well as boom South Australian recruits Mark Williams and Michael Taylor for the first time. The Pies led all day after kicking 6.13 in the first quarter before withstanding a last quarter charge from the Royboys which reduced the margin to less than a goal, to kick away and win by 26 points. Daicos kicked six and Davis four. Click here for match details.


After that Round 1 meeting, the sides didn’t meet again until the final round of the home and away season, when they played a high-stakes game on a Vic Park mud heap. The Pies were on top going into the last game, needing to win the final game to ensure top spot, which was a massive advantage under the Final Five system, with the reward being a week off. The Royboys headed into the round fifth, but with Hawthorn and Richmond breathing down their necks for the final spot in the five. The Pies were jumped and never in it, not kicking a goal until the third quarter and only four for the match, losing by the same 26 point margin they had won by in Round 1. Click here for highlights – while there are not many for the Pies, the conditions are worth showing younger fans. Click here for match details.


In the first week of the finals, the Pies lost to Geelong in the Qualifying Final, while the Royboys got over Essendon, who were in the midst of their run of losing Elimination Finals. Thus the Pies and the Royboys saddled up again in the First Semi-Final. The Royboys team contained both Leigh Carlson and Des Herbert who had both played senior footy for the Pies early in the season before seeking more opportunities.


Just as in Round 1, the semi-final was a high-scoring affair in which the Pies got out of the blocks well and enjoyed a healthy lead of 38 points at half-time before being pegged back and headed. Trailing by 10 points at the 27 minute mark of the last quarter, it looked like a season which had promised much was going to end with three ignominious losses, before Daicos and Brewer goaled to pinch a remarkable one-point victory. Click here for the last few minutes of the game and here for match details. In three games for the season, the aggregate scores resulted in a one point advantage to the Pies, and we got the chocolates when it mattered most.


Ironically, our best two wins against Brisbane were in the years that ended in great pain.  The 2003 Qualifying Final is the pick of the crop. We finished second and the Lions third so we hosted them at the G for a preliminary final place. It was a tense, torrid and low-scoring affair from go to whoa in which we trailed at all three changes, but never by more than a goal.

At three quarter time we trailed by three points but the Lions were without their inspirational skipper Voss who had gone off injured and had some other sore bodies.  There were no goals kicked for over ten minutes in the last quarter, but we edged level with behinds. Enter a young Alan Didak who put us in front on the run from outside 50, and then kicked the sealer from a set shot hard against the fence on the wrong side for a left footer. Taz kicked three and Bucks had 32 possessions and kicked two goals a couple of weeks ahead of winning the Brownlow (in the only year of the 3-2-1 voting system in which there have been three winners, the others being Adam Goodes  and Mark Ricciuto).   We all went home dreaming that this might just be the year, but sadly, yet again it wasn’t.   Click here for extended highlights of this epic tussle and here for match details.


The Round 8 2002 game at what was then Colonial Stadium (now Etihad Stadium) was also a classic. The Pies hadn’t made the finals since a brief visit in 1994 and had built steadily from a very low base after Mick Malthouse took the reins in 2000, reaching the breakeven point of 11 wins and 11 losses in 2001. After a shaky beginning in 2002, the Pies had strung together four successive wins as they went into Round 8, including a season-defining win on a very wet Anzac Day over the Bombers, who had been to the big dance the two previous seasons.

The first half was a shoot-out which Brisbane had the better of, leading by 13 points and 8 points respectively at the changes. In a rugged affair, Bucks enjoyed the company of Brad Scott for much of the evening, and often an umpire or two was in toe, in a match which featured multiple reports. Only three weeks after winning the Anzac Medal, the seventeen year-old Mark McGough got the run-with job on Voss and did well before breaking his leg in a horrible collision.

The Pies took control in the third quarter kicking six goals to two and took a handy 15 point lead into the last break. When Taz kicked his fifth we led by twenty points with about 15 minutes remaining on the clock. The reigning premiers predictably didn’t roll over and we didn’t score again, hanging on for grim death in the dying minutes, with Wakelin and Jason Cloke repeatedly gallant in denying the Lions. There was massive relief when the siren went with us three points to the better to join them on six wins at the top of the ladder. Click here for extended highlights – the crowd noise and atmosphere are worth listening to, as well as watching some great highlights, and here for match details (and here for a great extended Pies-centric match report from Jeff Dowsing).


There were actually no particularly significant games between the Pies and the Brisbane Bears, but one was memorable. In Round 20 1991 at Carrara the Macedonian Marvel snagged a lazy 13 goals against the hapless Bears, including one of his very best, superbly described by the Herald Sun as “Daicos stole possession of the ball beside the right-hand post with Gastev all over him like a cheap suit, with no visible space between the goals, and Gastev slinging him hard to the ground. Daicos managed to steer a dribbling check side through the middle.” Click here to see the miracle goal. Only 9302 spectators were on hand to see Daicos’ maestro performance but none of them will ever forget that game.


Will Sunday’s game result in a win which will be included in future re-writes of this article? It seems incredibly unlikely, but any win will do!



  1. DBalassone says

    I think you nailed it Steve & glad to see the great, enigmatic Ross Brewer get a mention here. On the subject of those ’81 h & a games, it always amazed me as an 8 year-old amateur statistician that we beat the Roys 159 to 133 in Round 1 and then lost to them 59 to 33 in Round 22. Is it just me, or is that incredibly weird?

    Nothing can top the ’81 first-semi, but here’s few other win over the Roys that come to mind:
    1) The ’84 Elimination Final – they smashed us in Round 19, during their improbable march to the finals (I think they were 5 and 11 after 16 rounds before winning their last 6) and were favourites to beat us in the final. It was close for 3 quarters – then the Pies went bang and kicked ten in the last quarter.
    2) Round 11 ’86 – mainly for BT’s six in the first quarter – he finished with nine on a pretty handy full-back.
    3) Round 16 ’86 – coming back from 5 goals down at half time at the Park. Michael Lockman and Darren Handley ran amok.

  2. steve fahey says

    Thanks Damian, especially for the 159-133 59-33 quirk that I have never twigged to.

    Yes I considered the 1984 Elimination final, which was a cracking game of footy featuring one of the best goals I have ever seen, by a bloke who would come to have considerable significance for the Pies, one G Pert . And yes, BT did kick 6 in the first quarter on a good player and terrifically consistent ex-Pie, one Peter McCormack. I remember feeling an odd mix of joy and sadness during that quarter.

    The other game I had in the mix was Round 8, 1990 – the day Brown went to full forward and he and Daicos ran amok in the last quarter as we kicked 10 goals kicking with a strong breeze to chase down a 3/4 time deficit of 17 points (which was reined in from 23 late in the quarter by one of Daicos’ best and most unsung goals, a left foot snap across the body into the teeth of the breeze from about 40 metres.

    Great days indeed !

  3. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Mixed memories here lads. ’81 last round cost us first spot – shocker.
    Brewer always memorable. I was at the 1979 First semi, which we won comfortably, but I remember it as a high scoring game and Graeme Anderson booted 5 goals.
    2003 Qual a ripper after Didak’s goals from the boundary.
    Steve, it was Round 8, 1990 when John Ironmonger tried to spear Graham Wright !!. Second half was telling as we got on roll for long period after that win.
    Raising the 1990 Flag in Round 3. 1991 at Vic Park is also a cherished moment against the Roys.

  4. DBalassone says

    Good call gents – that last quarter from the Round 8 clash in 1990 was the building block to 9 wins a row and eventually the flag. Re the Graham Wright spear tackle/head-first body slam, I was right near it on the outer wing, and I swear to this day that the officiating umpire paid holding the ball against Wright. Can anyone confirm this? Later I believe Gubby Allan complained to the AFL about the tackle and Ironmonger was subdequently suspended via trial by video for two weeks.

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