Brisbane Lions star Jarrod Berry says a Gabba Grand Final would be the perfect chance to “convert” new AFL fans in a tough Queensland market, and maybe even get NRL supporters on board.
The Grand Final will be played away from its traditional MCG home this year because of COVID-19 restrictions and the Gabba is expected to host the October decider.
As much as it would be a reward for the Queensland government’s work in allowing this year’s AFL season to continue by housing Victorian clubs, a Gabba Grand Final would also be a huge code wars boost for the AFL.
The Brisbane Broncos’ current NRL struggles and the absence of all three Queensland clubs teams from this year’s finals has left the 13-man code vulnerable.
The Lions on the other hand are legitimate premiership contenders giving the AFL an ideal chance to strike while the iron’s hot in giving the Gabba the Grand Final.
“It would be massive for AFL and the Brisbane Lions especially to get all that attention and maybe even convert a few people from rugby (league) over to AFL,” Berry said.
“It’s a great opportunity to do that. To have the Grand Final here would be awesome.
“The (Gabba) facilities are great – it’s a great place to host that game. It’s be awesome for the town of Brisbane.”
Berry said a Gabba decider would be an unforgettable occasion and fitting considering how different the 2020 season had been due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“No-one’s ever going to forget this season – it’s been the wackiest season in AFL history,” he said.
“For (the Lions) to be potentially be a part of it, and to potentially have the Grand Final here, it would be special.”
The Lions can further prove their premiership credentials by beating Collingwood at the Gabba on Friday night.
Brisbane haven’t beaten the Magpies since 2014, and not at the Gabba in 10 years.
“They’ve been a hoodoo team for us,” Berry said.
“Potentially it’s going to be a great battle on Friday night. It’s something we’re definitely looking forward to at the Gabba in front of a home crowd.
“We don’t really get that opportunity too much on a Friday night. so it’s going to be awesome.
“If you want to be the best team you’ve got to play in the biggest games. Rather than shying away from that, we want to take that opportunity.”
Berry was confident the Lions would overcome goal-kicking woes that threaten to derail their premiership campaign.
The Lions have this season amassed 145 behinds and kicked 118 goals.
“As long as the boys are confident in their process and routine, that’s all that matters to us. As long as they’re doing that, we know that it’s a fair chance the ball’s going to go through the big sticks,” Berry said.
“If you can get teams on the back foot and really put a bit of scoreboard pressure (on them), then it makes winning games a whole lot easier rather than fighting it out until the very last minute.
“If we can kick straight, it’s another little string to our bow.”