Lions boss - not Aker - turns heads - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lions boss - not Aker - turns heads

Laine Clark 18/03/2011 10:47:05 PM Comments (0)

Many thought black sheep Jason Akermanis would be the one to cause controversy at the Brisbane Lions' 2011 AFL season launch.

But the usually mild mannered Lions chairman Angus Johnson surprisingly stole the show.

The man who announced controversial forward Brendan Fevola's sacking again turned heads in Brisbane on Friday night when he made his feelings known about new arch rivals Gold Coast Suns.

Speaking of the season to come - his first at the Lions helm - Johnson pulled no punches when he spoke about the 2011 debutants.

"Let's kick them into the Pacific where they belong," he said, sparking applause.

In summing up, a fired up Johnson added: "We will enjoy success, we will play in the finals and we will achieve the ultimate success of winning premierships."

It is still a big call for a side that went on a horror 3-15 run to finish the 2010 season in 13th spot despite winning the first four rounds.

The launch also doubled as the anniversary dinner of the Lions' 2001 premiership side - opening the door for more controversy from Akermanis.

The former Brownlow Medallist had been a vocal critic of the Lions since his acrimonious split from the club where he had won three straight premierships from 2001.

The stage was set for an awkward homecoming but Akermanis was putting on a brave front when he arrived.

"Let's get on with it," he said.

"I am actually quite excited. It's been a while since the Brisbane Lions have given me a free feed.

"Ninety-five per cent (of former teammates) I don't have a problem with.

"For those who do, come and see me and we will sort it out with a quiet beer."

The year 2001 holds a special place for Akermanis - he won the Brownlow and a premiers' medal the same year, sparking a golden era for the once mighty Lions.

While he has been critical in the past of his team, Akermanis oozed respect upon his arrival on Friday night.

"I won the Brownlow because of the team,"he said.

"I didn't because I was exceptionally better than Blacky (Simon Black) or Vossy (Michael Voss) or the other boys - it was just one of those years."

Akermanis was conspicuously placed between two players' partners on the long table that boasted the 2001 premiership team.

Lions captain Jonathan Brown took a thinly veiled swipe at Akermanis - a major critic of former teammate Voss as Lions coach - when he addressed the function.

"If you read the papers you may as well not buy any tickets," he said.

"But we know exactly where we are heading.

"Of course it has been a difficult 12 months on and off the field, there have been a lot of changes.

"But we have had a fantastic pre-season.

"We are ready to prove to the football world that we are a better football team than they think - and prove it to ourselves as well."

The Lions have featured just once since their 2004 grand final loss.

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