Lions boss welcomes Gold Coast - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lions boss welcomes Gold Coast

By Laine Clark 23/04/2008 08:17:08 PM Comments (0)

An increase in dysfunctional Gold Coast families would make Brisbane Lions boss Michael Bowers a happy man.

But he's no sadist.

Bowers simply wants to see households on the tourist strip split into two AFL camps - Lions fans and Gold Coast bid team supporters.

Bowers not only welcomed a Gold Coast group applying for a 17th licence but also urged the region's community to rally behind the bid to ensure their success.

The Gold Coast bid - dubbed GC17 - was officially launched on the glitter strip.

The group has been given six months to meet tough criteria - including finding 20,000 committed supporters and 111 sponsors - in order to guarantee 2011 entry.

"You see in Victoria on dining room tables a Collingwood supporter, a Carlton supporter and this and that - you wonder how families function," Bowers said.

"So we are hoping there will be a lot of dysfunctional families on the Gold Coast.

"We want a couple of Gold Coast supporters and Lions supporters (in households) getting on 362 days of the year, but for the couple of days we are playing each other it will be daggers at dawn sort of stuff."

It's not just household rivalries Bowers was encouraging.

The Lions chief executive admitted the AFL would lose crucial ground to rival codes if the Gold Coast bid failed.

"If we were sitting here in 10 or 15 years' time and there was still one AFL team in Queensland we would have lost a massive opportunity and fallen behind the competition," he said.

"We need rivalries. We've seen what has happened in rugby league (with the emergence of the Gold Coast Titans).

"We say, bring it on."

Bowers said his club did not feel that the Gold Coast was now off limits for supporter or sponsorship recruitment with the bid group's emergence.

"No, we are the second most supported club across the whole of Australia, so we've got terrific support down here," Bowers said at the bid launch.

"The Lions' message to people on the Gold Coast is 'we won't forget you'."

Bowers admitted the AFL criteria laid out for the Gold Coast was daunting but expected the tourist strip to rise to the challenge.

"The AFL has never set the bar low ever in its life so why would it start now?," he said.

"This (criteria) is sending out a strong message to the AFL community here - 'this is an opportunity you don't get that often so you better have a decent crack'.

"It's up to the community to put their hand on their heart and get going."

The Gold Coast bid team already has one national team in their sights - and it's not the Lions.

The bid team's Graeme Downie - a former Brisbane Lions president - said they had ground to make up to the Titans, but sounded a clear warning to the NRL club.

"The Titans have got the jump on us (but) we are going to challenge them for the Gold Coast's hearts and minds," he said.

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