Lions roar through city on a blitz to boost support for AFL
IF THE Brisbane Lions are hoping to convert rugby league-mad Ipswich to AFL by moving their headquarters to Ipswich, they're making a strong start.
The entire Lions team visited Orion shopping centre in Springfield Central on Saturday, signing autographs and talking to fans.
A constant stream of AFL fans young and old made their way to the stars who were promoting the team ahead of the opening of a state-of-the-art headquarters and training facility in mid-2016.
The visit came after the players visited nearly 30 schools across Ipswich in a pre-season blitz.
Newly named Lions captain Jed Adcock said he was excited to see such a great response from Springfield and Ipswich.
"It's been great spending the last couple of days in Ipswich and Springfield," he said.
"People have been really excited to see us and it's great to see Aussie Rules making an impact in places like Springfield.
"It's great to see how excited people are about the Lions setting up here."
Lions ruckman Matt Leuenberger said the team was looking forward to the eventual move to Springfield.
"It's still a while off, but it'll be great," he said.
"The new facilities will be fantastic and the response we've got from locals today has been really supportive."
Adcock said Ipswich, and Queensland in general, had great potential produce more elite AFL stars.
"There are more and more Queenslanders in the AFL these days," he said.
"We've got a few, but a lot of the players are still from other states.
"There's bigger growth potential in Queensland for Aussie Rules than anywhere else though."
Springfield boy Matt Bliesner, whose backpack was covered in the Lions' signatures, said they were excited about the prospect of the Lions setting up shop near their home.
"I am a bit more excited and interested about AFL than I was before," Matt said.
"It's really exciting that they'll be in Springfield."
Springfield father Jason Travers said his family had been thrilled to hear the team was moving their facilities to the area.
"It has made it a bit of a bigger deal for us," he said.
"My son played with Springfield junior AFL last year and he's just signed up again."
- The Lions will move to Springfield in 2016 with a new MCG sized elite training and administration facility.
- Planned to be built adjacent to the newly opened Springfield Central Station the centre will be the heart of a new sports and recreation precinct.
- While the Lions home games will still be played at the Gabba, the field is expected to be able to host pre-season NAB Cup games and minor league NEAFL games.