Footy bonanza as what was a one horse town embraces new sporting landscape

The Brisbane Lions host the Melbourne Demons on Friday in what could be an early look at the AFL grand final, and yet it won’t be the biggest game in town.

Mar 24, 2023, updated Mar 24, 2023
Adam Reynolds leads the Broncos out onto the Suncorp Stadium playing surface.  (AAP Image/Jason O'Brien)

Adam Reynolds leads the Broncos out onto the Suncorp Stadium playing surface. (AAP Image/Jason O'Brien)

Five minutes after the first bounce of a Sherrin at the Gabba, a Steeden will be kicked off the tee down the road at Suncorp Stadium in the first NRL game between Brisbane and new outfit the Dolphins.

That rugby league derby – dubbed the Battle of Brisbane, or Battle for Brisbane depending who you ask – has been practically sold out all week.

More than 50,000 fans will watch the two undefeated teams lock horns in a game that’s been hyped for three weeks but is decades in the making.

As Queensland league great Chris Close eloquently put it to AAP, “the Dolphins have livened up the NRL and Brisbane is now the capital of rugby league in the world, how f***ing good is that?”.

But, in a sign of how the codes can co-exist in the growing city, the Lions are nearing a sell-out of their own and coach Chris Fagan reckons he didn’t even know about the fixture clash.

The AFL could have looked at the already-launched NRL draw before announcing their own and shifted their Brisbane blockbuster to another day.

But with the Dolphins now on the scene as another Suncorp Stadium tenant, it’s the beginning of a new sporting dynamic in the Queensland capital and a good problem to have for the ultimate sports fan.

InQueensland in your inbox. The best local news every workday at lunch time.
By signing up, you agree to our User Agreement andPrivacy Policy & Cookie Statement. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

“There might be some people that follow both codes scratching their heads about where to go,” Fagan offered.

“But I’d have thought our fans would turn up to our game, their fans turn up to to their game … it’s good to have plenty of buzz and activity.”

The final attendance figures on Friday night will tell the tale, with empty seats at the Gabba providing an easy opportunity to point the finger at the AFL’s reluctance to budge.

But perhaps the only people complaining will be those working in the public transport system, tasked with herding 80,000 punters when the fulltime hooters sound.

Local News Matters
Copyright © 2024 InQueensland.
All rights reserved.
Privacy Policy