Queensland footy culture is growing without Ablett

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    The AFL’s expansion in Queensland over past few years could be described as patchy at best.

    Somewhere in the vicinity of $100 million was invested by AFL to broaden their reach and depth in the sunny state, but the results haven’t equalled the expenditure.

    With two professional teams – the Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast Suns – the supporter base has grown well with good crowds, but in recent years the on-field success hasn’t materialised, with the Suns not yet having made it to finals. This is a concern for the AFL Commission.

    In their defence the Suns have incurred their fair share of teething problems compounded by an unsettling couple of years of rumours, now proven to be true, that their big-ticket player, Gary Ablett, would re-join Geelong in 2018.

    However, his departure should allow room for rookie onballers like Darcy McPherson and older heads Pearce Hanley and Jarrod Harbrow to get their chance this year.

    Positive off-field factors to assist the Suns this coming year are the appointment of Mark Evans as CEO in 2017, a proven AFL administrator, and the newly appointed senior coach Stewart Dew. Both bring years of experience to Queensland.

    (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

    The Suns local rivals, the Brisbane Lions, won four flags under coach Leigh Matthews and captain Michael Voss in the early 2000s and had a pretty promising 2017 with new coach Chris Fagan, who recently reflected on the Lions website that “It’s been a great year, I’ve learnt so much about the group”.

    “I think right now, I’m in a good position to know what’s required. And now the other challenge is to execute it to the nth degree and improve next year.”

    The Lions, like all clubs, have had a few major injuries to key players during the year, with both Dayne Beams and Darcy Gardiner missing ten weeks between them. According to Sunshine Footy scouts both are training the house down and eager for the first bounce in 2018.

    With new recruits Cameron Rayner, Charlie Cameron and Luke Hodge, Brisbane is a club keen to build a real culture so that the team can retain young players for the duration of their careers.

    In reality both AFL clubs may struggle to make the top eight in 2018, but supporters have a lot to look forward to. As the last two AFL premiers show, you can turn it around quickly.

    The AFL’s expansion plans focused on the growth not only of the professional league but also at grassroots level, with Auskick experiencing steady participation growth in the last few years, including a six per cent take-up in 2016. Overall participation is up 16.87 per cent according to AFLQ.

    At grassroots level the real challenge is attracting new players each year to top-up ongoing recruitment shortlists. Like semi-professional clubs in Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania, which are always on the lookout for quality players, this recruitment process is very time-consuming.

    Club administrators can make an average of 100 phone calls to secure ten new players, but as the market grows, new recruitment platforms are opening up to facilitate football opportunities in Queensland.

    Queensland is the perfect place to play footy, with more sun than rain and a host of clubs in idyllic locations, from Surfers Paradise to Port Douglas, regularly fielding players, be they ex-professional or amateurs, from the city and the country to join them.

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    The Crowd Says (260)

    • January 13th 2018 @ 9:32am
      John said | January 13th 2018 @ 9:32am | ! Report

      Brisbane won 3 flags under Leigh Matthews.

    • January 13th 2018 @ 9:41am
      Tmbr said | January 13th 2018 @ 9:41am | ! Report

      Brisbane only won three premierships in the early 2000’s. Lost their attempt for a fourth against Port..

      Beams and Gardiner played most of the season, the team’s most signficant absentees in 2017 were Christensen and Robinson.

    • Roar Guru

      January 13th 2018 @ 10:22am
      Cat said | January 13th 2018 @ 10:22am | ! Report

      Somewhere in the vicinity of $100 million was invested by AFL to broaden their reach and depth in the sunny state, but the results haven’t equalled the expenditure.

      Just to give this seemingly large number context, it is barely more than the AFL has spent on continuing to support St Kilda or the Bulldogs in the same period.

      • January 13th 2018 @ 11:04am
        BMV BMV said | January 13th 2018 @ 11:04am | ! Report

        #CorrectWeight Cat



      • January 14th 2018 @ 9:26am
        Rob said | January 14th 2018 @ 9:26am | ! Report

        Really? I cant find 1 artical anywhere that suggests Melbourne based clubs received such large sums of money. Given most Melbourne clubs either turn a profit or have the reserves to absorb a big loss were looking at $100 million being spent on 3 clubs (Bulldogs, North maybe St Kilda).

        Thats roughly $33 million each in a 6 year period.

        Even taking into account Melbourne, Essendon, Carlton and Port have in those years at some stage reveived money from the AFL were still looking at the kind of grants and handouts that would have made headlines.

        I can only assume your refering to the money the AFL has maybe spent on buying out Etihad?

        • January 14th 2018 @ 9:41am
          Slane said | January 14th 2018 @ 9:41am | ! Report

        • Roar Guru

          January 14th 2018 @ 9:59am
          Col from Brissie said | January 14th 2018 @ 9:59am | ! Report

          The AFL disburses money to each club every year from their profits. In 2016 they handed the clubs $255 million. GWS got $21 million, StKilda $18.6 million and the Bulldogs $17.5 million. The bigger clubs received $11 – 12 million each.

          • January 14th 2018 @ 10:39am
            George said | January 14th 2018 @ 10:39am | ! Report

            Correct. If I remember correctly Suns got 17 million in 2016. At the same time GSW/GC extra game every week brings estimated extra $57 million per year to AFL. So were is AFL haemorraging money due to Suns exactly? May be instead fans should ask why AFL has to prop up so much clubs in Melbourne which existed like forever.

            • Roar Guru

              January 14th 2018 @ 11:02am
              Cat said | January 14th 2018 @ 11:02am | ! Report

              As slane linked above:

              How much each club was paid by the AFL in 2016:

              1. GWS Giants $21,548,374

              2. St Kilda $18,566,589

              3. Western Bulldogs $17,610,181

              4. Brisbane Lions $17,532,922

              5. Gold Coast Suns $17,194,594

              6. North Melbourne $15,022,303

              In 2016 (full 2017 numbers haven’t come out yet AFAIK) two Melbourne clubs, St Kilda and Western Bulldogs, both received more money then the Suns. In fact the Suns only received the 5th most.

          • January 15th 2018 @ 1:25pm
            Glenn the magician said | January 15th 2018 @ 1:25pm | ! Report

            we al know its the pies who prop up the ailing clubs, without the Pies support North, Dogs, Demons, Saints would all be no longer

            • January 15th 2018 @ 4:21pm
              Brendon the 1st said | January 15th 2018 @ 4:21pm | ! Report

              Maybe the Pies could just play themselves every week then, see how the crowds go then.

              • January 15th 2018 @ 4:25pm
                Glenn the magician said | January 15th 2018 @ 4:25pm | ! Report

                I hate the Pies too Brendon, but you gotta admit they prop up the competition

            • January 15th 2018 @ 4:57pm
              Perry Bridge said | January 15th 2018 @ 4:57pm | ! Report

              #Glenn the magician

              Part of the premise of the AFL gifting Collingwood (and for that matter Essendon, Richmond, etc) the big games (esp Anzac Day, Queens Birthday, Anzac Eve, season opener etc) – stand alone big games that attract good to great attendance in one off slots – also attract the viewership/sponsorship.

              Part of the premise is that this along with the allocation of Friday nights will advantage certain clubs and disadvantage others. The additional payments to some clubs is compensation for being screwed over otherwise. That’s how it works with a centralised system for broadcast rights.

              • January 16th 2018 @ 10:28am
                Glenn the magician said | January 16th 2018 @ 10:28am | ! Report

                Perry Bridge….you have no idea how marketing works. They are “gifted” those games because they are marketable. try scheduling Freo v North on Anzac day and see how you go. It would kill the Anzac day game. As for Friday nights have you even looked at the 2018 fixture? The worst side to watch has been “gifted” 6 games. Carlton. That will have viewers switching off in droves. Ess V Coll on ANZAC day didn’t make them big marketable clubs, they already were, it just capitalised on it like a shot of adrenalin. best to head to Marketing 101 at Uni if you wish to understand.

              • Roar Guru

                January 16th 2018 @ 5:10pm
                Dalgety Carrington said | January 16th 2018 @ 5:10pm | ! Report

                So those marketing classes, is their full title “Marketing 101: Marketing for the Lazy and Scared”?, first lesson “Forging new markets: why it’s too hard”.

    • January 13th 2018 @ 10:43am
      Simoc said | January 13th 2018 @ 10:43am | ! Report

      The Suns set themselves back 5 years by replacing McKenna with a has been like Eade. A hopelessly incompetent admin means all the players wanted out. Hopefully the wheel will turn with the new set up. But Fagan has Brisbane playing some great footy, and putting 4 quarters together regularly is the challenge.

      I look forward to the Lions playing now rather than cringe at what may be in store.

      • January 13th 2018 @ 11:11am
        Aligee said | January 13th 2018 @ 11:11am | ! Report

        The politically correct but ultimately wrong call of replacing Mckenna with Eade was a huge waste of time except for Eades bank balance.

        The stronger the QLD academies get, the stronger QLD footy will get through all levels, it is self perpetuating, it is not rocket science.

    • January 13th 2018 @ 11:07am
      BMV BMV said | January 13th 2018 @ 11:07am | ! Report

      #CorrectWeight Simoc

      FYI; If you live in Melbourne, McKenna is now coaching #BeaumarisFootballClub



    • January 13th 2018 @ 11:18am
      Graeme said | January 13th 2018 @ 11:18am | ! Report

      It could be argued however, that Brisbane most likely won it’s premierships following the merger with Fitzroy and the impetus of the Fitzroy playing group that arrived as a result, in addition to leaving the Gold Coast and moving to the Gabba. When it was the Brisbane Bears playing on the Gold Coast, the team was unsuccessful.

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