The AFL won’t allow the Brisbane Lions’ momentum to be derailed by a change of home ground when the Gabba is revamped for the 2032 Olympics.
The Lions will play at the Gabba for two more years before work starts on what will be Brisbane’s Olympic Stadium in nine years’ time.
Of the grounds the Lions could potentially call home, the club’s Springfield base and the RNA Showgrounds loom as the most likely options.
Even with upgrades, neither can match the Gabba’s capacity of a little more than 36,000, with the Lions facing the prospect of playing in front of home crowds of no more than 25,000 while their spiritual home is rebuilt.
AFL chief executive officer Andrew Dillon would not give his preference for where the Lions should move but was adamant that this year’s beaten grand finalists should be shown the respect they deserved as one of the competition’s best teams.
“The Lions are a big club,” Dillon said on Tuesday at the AFL’s National Inclusion Carnival at Springfield.
“(They have made) five finals series in a row and they don’t look like they’re going anywhere soon, so you want to make sure that as many people can watch the Lions as possible.
“Our preference is to make sure that we get something that works best for football in Queensland and if that’s RNA, or if it’s Springfield, we’ll work with the Queensland government.”
Dillon was due to meet with state government officials on Tuesday afternoon for further talks.
“What we want to make sure is that we have a stadium that is as comfortable as possible and is as good as possible that we can have but within the (capacity) constraints that we’re dealing with,” he said.
Dillon also said the AFL wanted an upgraded, temporary home for the Lions to leave a “legacy” for the sport that continues to grow in popularity in Queensland.
“The area that we’re in now (Western corridor) is the fastest growing participation area of all regions within Australia, so we’re really excited about that, particularly with lots of young boys and girls playing Auskick,” he said,
“Our participation numbers in Queensland this year hit over 68,000, which is a record for us.
“We’ve got plenty of opportunities here in Queensland. We’re going to continue to invest and grow, and what we want is for boys and girls, and men and women, to have a great experience when they play AFL.”