Brisbane Bears Football Club

brisbane bears

The Brisbane Bears Football Club was the first Queensland-based club in the Victorian Football League.

Founded

1986

Nickname

The Bears

A consortium headed by former actor Paul Cronin and bankrolled by entrepreneur Christopher Skase was awarded the Brisbane licence. The club was officially announced as the Brisbane Bears, unveiling a playing strip consisting of a gold with a maroon yoke and a triangular "BB" logo intended to represent a stylised map of the club's home state, Queensland, with the outline of a koala head appearing inside of the larger B.

And so it was, on Friday 27 March 1987, that a new era in Australian Football was born when the Brisbane Bears stepped onto the MCG for their first official VFL match against North Melbourne.

The club avoided the wooden spoon by beating Richmond in the final round, and finished with six wins. The club attracted 98,616 fans to the eleven matches at Carrara Oval, an average of 8,965 per game, which was the lowest in the competition behind Fitzroy's 11,498.

The Bears only narrowly missed out on a position in the grand final of 1996 when they were defeated by eventual premiers North Melbourne at the MCG in the preliminary finals.

In mid-1996 Fitzroy Football Club collapsed due to financial pressures and was seeking to merge with another club.
A deal was done between Fitzroy and the Bears.

The new team was known as the Brisbane Lions.

Playing Uniform

Club Song

What do we say when we run out to play?
Dare to beat the Bear!
What do we say when we run our way?
Dare to beat the Bear!
We're hot! We're mean!
We're strong, we're a team
We're the very best team you've ever seen.
We're the Brisbane Bears!

The Bears were based at Carrara Oval on the Gold Coast.

Temporary stands, club rooms and facilities were erected on the slopes surrounding the field.

The Gabba was the home ground for the Brisbane Bears from 1993 to 1996.

The Bears had an excellent 1996 season, finishing third on the ladder.
They made a good accounting of themselves in the finals, with two wins at the Brisbane Cricket Ground.

The Bears last match was a preliminary final on Saturday 21 September 1996 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, where the Bears played their first VFL/AFL game.

It was against North Melbourne, their first and last ever opponents. The Bears lost by 38 points to North who would go on to win the premiership that year.

When the team came off the MCG, the Bears were finished after a short and troubled existence.

The Bears won their first game in the VFL against North Melbourne at the Melbourne Cricket Ground 19.23 (137) to 15.14 (104) in front of 14,096 fans, and also won its second game, but ultimately fell towards the bottom of the ladder. The club struggled on and off the field until it made the finals for the first time in 1995.
The club avoided the wooden spoon by beating Richmond in the final round finishing with six wins.

In 1994, the Bears changed the club logo and the club song, and also began to show signs of a competitive side and were contenders for a finals berth before falling away in the last five games of the season.

In round 15 of 1995 the Bears were third-last on the ladder with four wins. In the next round against Hawthorn they trailed by 45 points at three‑quarter time, but mounted an astounding final-quarter comeback to win the match by 7 points, the largest final quarter comeback in league history.

The Bears then won five of its six remaining matches in the home-and-away season, including against Richmond and Essendon who were both in the top four, to just reach the finals for the first time, albeit with a win‑loss record of only 10‑12.

The team was eliminated, but not disgraced, after losing its first ever final to eventual premiers Carlton by 13 points.

The history of the Brisbane Bears ended after the 1996 season, with ten seasons of competition and the third-place finish in 1996 as its best performance.

years in competition & premierships

Brisbane Bears years in competition premierships runner-up
10
1986 – 1996
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