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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Earlier in the day, the Brisbane Lions thumped the Western Bulldogs in their Round 13 game. Afterwards, the Lions hosted a 900-plus crowd gathered for the annual Hall of Fame ceremonies at Melbourne's Crown Palladium. The event brings together and celebrates players and supporters of the Fitzroy Lions, the Brisbane Bears and merged entity the Brisbane Lions. At the end of 1996, when the merger of Fitzroy and Brisbane was agreed upon, Brisbane pledged to keep alive and honor the memory and history of Fitzroy, one of the eight foundation clubs of the VFL in 1896.

Seventeen past players were inducted, with Kevin Murray and Haydn Bunton named the first Legends. Eligibility requires a player to have been retired for at least three years with candidates selected based on their overall contributions to the club. The inductees are:

MARCUS ASHCROFT
BRISBANE
1989-2003: 318 games - 152 with the Brisbane Bears, 166 with the Brisbane Lions
Goals: 145 - 84 with the Bears, 61 with the Lions

Honors:
Premierships 2001-2003
First and only Queenslander to play 300 AFL games
Played the second most games (318) in Club history
Lions Life Member
Lions Team of the Decade (1997-2006)
Queensland Football Hall of Fame
Queensland Team of the Century
Queensland/Allies State Representative (six times)

Hailing from Queensland, Ashcroft was a "local product". His hard training showed during games as his fitness and ball skills were a key in the midfield. He was also highly organized. These factors combined to make him one of most professional and durable players of his time. It was only late in his career that he was moved into defense. His sure hands and running capacity across halfback helped propel the Lions to their hat trick of Premierships. His durability allowed him to play 178 consecutive games, a feat achieved by only four other players at that time. Although he never won a club Best and Fairest award, he did finish in the top three six times. His career began with the "Bad News" Bears and ended with a third Premiership. He was the only player to have played under all seven Brisbane coaches through 2003.

HAYDN BUNTON (LEGEND)
FITZROY: 1931-1937, 1942
119 games, 209 goals
Coach 1936

Honors:
Brownlow Medalist - 1931, 1932, 1935 (Equal most in VFL/AFL history)                                                   
Fitzroy Best & Fairest - 1934-35
Fitzroy Captain - 1932, 1936-37
Fitzroy Leading Goal Kicker - 1936-37
AFL Hall of Fame Legend
AFL Team of the Century
Fitzroy Team of the Century
Fitzroy Kings of the Pride (1927-56)
Victorian State Captain - 1937
Victorian State Representative (15 times)

Even though Bunton grew up in Albury on the Victoria-New South Wales border, far from the footballing world of Melbourne, his reputation as a prodigious talent had every club of the time vying for his services. Fitzroy won out and he debuted a the age of 19, quickly asserting himself as a highly skilled rover. He won the Brownlow Medal in his first two seasons, was runner-up the following year before winning it again. He left Fitzroy at the end of 1937 to join WA team Subiaco. He had equal success out west winning three Sandover Medals in 1938-39 and 1941. His career was interrupted by war service after which he returned to Fitzroy for two games. He had a stint with Port Adelaide in South Australia before turning to umpiring and later coached North Adelaide. In 1955 he was tragically killed in an auto accident at the age of 44.

FRED HUGHSON
FITZROY 1938-47
164 games, 95 goals
Coach 1943-47

Honors:
Playing Honors
Fitzroy Best & Fairest - 1943
Fitzroy Premiership Captain - 1944
Fitzroy Premiership Coach - 1944
Fitzroy Captain - 1942-47
Fitzroy Leading Goal Kicker - 1938
Fitzroy Team of the Century
Lions Life Member
Fitzroy Greatest Team (1944-93)
Victorian State Captain - 1945
Victorian State Representative (twice)

Ironically, Hughson is regarded as one of the best fullbacks of his era, even though he started as a forward. He once admitted to being horrified at the idea of playing defense but soon discovered his niche. So much so he won the club Best and Fairest in his first season as a defender and appointed captain-coach. Under his leadership, Fitzroy won their last Premiership in 1944.

NIGEL LAPPIN
BRISBANE
1994-2008, 279 games - 61 with the Bears, 218 with the Lions
Goals: 174 - 40 with the Bears, 134 with the Lions

Honors:
Lions Best & Fairest - 2004
Lions Premiership Player - 2001, 2002, 2003
Lions Co-Captain - 2007-08
All Australian - 2001-04
Lions Life Member
Lions Team of the Decade (1997-2006)
Australian IR Representative
Victoria State Representative

One of the "Fab Four" of the all-conquering Lions, Lappin was one of the keys to Brisbane's success. Then coach Leigh Matthews once described Lappin as the "perfect player" who could win his own ball, use it well and work to regain possession from the opposition. He had a brief taste of moderate success when, at just 18 and 159 pounds, he played in Brisbane's first Final in 1995 - a 13 point loss to eventual Premier Carlton. His courage was epitomized when he played in the 2003 Grand Final with several broken ribs. After the game, he was hospitalized not only for the ribs but a punctured lung as well. The other members of the "Fab Four" were current coach Michael Voss, Jason Akermanis and Simon Black, who is still playing in 2012.

JUSTIN LEPPITSCH
BRISBANE
1993-2006, 227 games - 44 with the Bears, 183 for the Lions
Goals: 194 - 58 for the Bears, 136 for the Lions

Honors:
Lions Best & Fairest - 1999
Lions Premiership Player - 2001, 2002, 2003
Lions Leading Goal Kicker - 1997-98
All Australian - 1999, 2002-03
Lions Life Member
Lions Team of the Decade (1997-2006)
Australian IR Representative

Another forward turned defender, Lepptisch's first two seasons with Brisbane were wrecked due to knee surgery. Once he got onto the park, he proved to be a strong marking (catching the ball), fast-leading forward. When shifted to defense in 1999, he put those same skills to great use as an attacking halfback. In one game in 2000, he started the game at center halfback opposed to North Melbourne's Wayne Carey. Carey kicked five goals. Leppitsch was moved forward and got Brisbane back into the match by kicking four goals of his own. Leppitsch is now an assistant coach at Richmond Football Club.

ALASTAIR LYNCH
FITZROY-BRISBANE
1988-2004, 306 games - 120 with Fitzroy, 32 with the Bears, 154 with the Lions
Goals: 633 - 173 with Fitzroy, 89 with the Bears, 154 with the Lions

Honors:
Fitzroy Best & Fairest - 1993
Lions Premiership Player - 2001, 2002, 2003
Lions Co-Captain - 1997-2000
Fitzroy Leading Goal Kicker - 1993
Bears Leading Goal Kicker - 1996
Lions Leading Goal Kicker - 2000-03
Holds the record for most goals kicked in Club history (633)
All Australian - 1993
Fitzroy Team of the Century
Lions Life Member
Lions Team of the Decade (1997-2006)
Tasmanian State Representative (six times)

Lynch has a unique place in the histories of both Fitzroy and Brisbane, having departed Fitzroy before their demise in 1996, then being reunited with some of his former teammates when Brisbane added six Fitzroy players to their list as part of the merger deal. He had the ability to play both defense and forward but is more known for his goal kicking than defending. His first season with the Bears was ruined with a shoulder injury. In 1994, he developed Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Had it not been for this, it is conceivable he could have become just the third player in League history behind Michael Tuck and Kevin Bartlett to crack 400 games. Although he recovered sufficiently to play a part in Brisbane's 1996 Finals campaign, he had to be carefully monitored for the remainder of his career. To protect his health, he was often left out of pre-season games when temperatures could exceed 90 degrees or more. He was also often left at home when the team had to travel to Perth for matches against West Coast and Fremantle. When Brisbane won their first Premiership in 2001, it was Lynch who was holding the ball on a wing when the final siren signaled their triumph.

LEIGH MATTHEWS
1999-2008 - Brisbane Lions Coach
Games: 237
Coaching Honors:
Lions Premiership Coach - 2001, 2002, 2003
Longest serving coach in Club history
All Australian Coach - 2001-03
AFL Hall of Fame Legend
Lions Life Member
Queensland Hall of Fame Legend
Lions Team of the Decade Coach (1997-2006)

After three consecutive finals appearances 1995-1997, the Lions had a dismal 1998, winning just 5 games and the dreaded wooden spoon. John Northey had been axed as coach mid-season and was replaced by club legend Roger Merrett as caretaker while a new coach was sought. Enter Leigh Matthews, multiple Premiership player with Hawthorn and a Premiership coach with Collingwood in 1990, their first since 1958. He wasted little time in helping to rebuild the club, lifting the club back into the Final Eight over the next two years. Under his guidance the team became the dominating force of the competition for the next several years.

JACK MORIARTY
FITZROY 1924-1933
157 games, 626 goals

Honors:
Fitzroy Best & Fairest - 1927
Fitzroy Captain - 1933
Fitzroy Leading Goal Kicker - 1924-29, 1931-33
VFL Leading Goalkicker - 1924
Holds record for most goals with Fitzroy, second most in Club history
Fitzroy Team of the Century
Lions Life Member
Victorian State Representative (11 times)

Moriarty began his career at Essendon where he played 13 games in 1922. He was dropped for the Preliminary Final that year despite leading the club's goal kicking and spent 1923 in Essendon's reserves team. He then crossed to Fitzroy where his small stature (5'8", 132 pounds) belied an amazing talent. He had a great leap which he used to soar over opposing defenders, was a strong mark and creative at ground level. He kicked seven goals in his first three games and averaged four goals a game over the course of his career. His tally of 12 goals in a match against the Kangaroos in 1928 is still a club record.

JOHN MURPHY
FITZROY 1967-1977
214 games, 327 goals

Honors:
Fitzroy Best & Fairest - 1968, 1970-71, 1973, 1977
Fitzroy Captain - 1973-77
Fitzroy Leading Goal Kicker - 1971, 1976
AFL Hall of Fame
Fitzroy Team of the Century
Fitzroy Kings of the Pride (1967-1976)
Lions Life Member
Fitzroy Greatest Team (1944-93)
Victorian State Representative (9 times)

Hawthorn wanted Murphy under the father-son rule, but Murphy felt more comfortable at Fitzroy. He was a versatile type who was equally adept as a rover, midfielder or half forward. His record run of 158 consecutive games from debut stood until broken by Sydney's Jared Crouch (194, 1998-2006). An excellent ball winner, Murphy won his first Best and Fairest in just his second season. However, he ran afoul of the club's committee when, in 1977, he commented in the media that the club needed to clear out some older players to make room for new recruits. In 1978, he joined South Melbourne where he also proved more than handy in 23 games and won the club Best and Fairest. Ironically, South coach Ian Stewart decided several older players had to go and Murphy was one of those players. He had a final season at North Melbourne where he played just nine games due to injury.

KEVIN MURRAY (LEGEND)
FITZROY 1955-1964, 1967-74
1963-1964, Coach
333 games, 51 goals

Honors:
Brownlow Medalist - 1969
Fitzroy Best & Fairest - 1956, 1958, 1960-64, 1968-69
Equal record holder for most Best & Fairest awards in VFL/AFL history
Fitzroy Captain - 1963-64, 1967-72
Holds record for most games in Club history
All Australian - 1958
AFL Hall of Fame Legend
AFL Team of the Century
Fitzroy Team of the Century Captain
Fitzroy Kings of the Pride (1957-66)
Lions Life Member
Fitzroy Greatest Team (1944-93)
Victorian State Representative (24 times)

Murray's grunt is perhaps what earned him the nickname "Bulldog" and his legacy is a long one. He debuted at just 16 years of age and won his first club Best and Fairest at just 18. An excellent defender with his speed, judgment and marking, he could also play as a rover. His leadership skills saw him appointed as captain-coach in 1963. He then headed to West Australia in 1965 and payed for East Perth after the Fitzroy committee dumped him as captain. He returned to the Lions in 1967 and won the Brownlow Medal at the ripe old age of 31. By this time, he had to wear a back brace to play. His 333 games was a League record at the time. It still stands as a combined club record.

PERCY PARRATT
FITZROY 1906-1917, 1920-1923
Coach 1913-15, 1920-21
196 games, 202 goals

Honors:
Fitzroy Premiership Player - 1913, 1916, 1922
Fitzroy Premiership Coach - 1913
Fitzroy Captain - 1914-15, 1920-21
Fitzroy Team of the Century
Fitzroy Kings of the Pride (1897-1926)
Lions Life Member
Victorian State Representative (twice)

Parratt had an amazing ability to read the play and combined with his fellow half forwards in a lethal combination. Parratt was at the club during one its most successful eras, despite the first World War. In 1924, Parratt coached Carlton. He also coached Geelong in 1935. It is a strange twist that he coached the Blues when the Lions finished last in 1916 but still defeated the first-placed Blues in the Grand Final. This was due to only four clubs still being active during the war.

BERNIE QUINLAN
FOOTSCRAY 1969-77, 177 games, 241 goals
FITZROY 1978-1986, 189 games, 576 goals
1995 - Fitzroy Coach

Honors:
Brownlow Medalist - 1981
Fitzroy Leading Goal Kicker - 1981-85
VFL Leading Goal Kicker - 1983-84
Only Lions player to kick 100 goals in a season
Holds Club record for most goals in a season
All Australian - 1983-84
Fitzroy Team of the Century
Lions Life Member
AFL Hall of Fame
Fitzroy Greatest Team (1944-93)
Fitzroy Night Premiership Player - 1978
Victorian State Representative (3 times)

It wasn't until Quinlan crossed to Fitzroy that he earned the nickname "Superboot". Somewhat inconsistent at the Bulldogs, he found that consistency at Footscray. Whether it was at center half-forward early in his career or full forward later in his career when hampered by knee and Achilles problems, he was a living nightmare for opposition defenders. He could kick goals from just about any angle and could kick them from distances of over 60 yards. In 1983 he became the only player in club history to boot over 100 goals in a single season. He followed it up with another 100 goal season in 1984.

PAUL ROOS
FITZROY: 1982-1994, 269 games, 270 goals
SYDNEY: 1995-98, 87 games, 19 goals

Honors:
Fitzroy Best & Fairest - 1985-86, 1991-92, 1994
Fitzroy Captain - 1988-90, 1992-94
Fitzroy Leading Goal Kicker - 1990
All Australian Captain - 1991-92
All Australian - 1985-88, 1991-92
Fitzroy Team of the Century
Fitzroy Kings of the Pride (1987-1996)
AFL Hall of Fame
Lions Life Member
Fitzroy Greatest Team (1944-93)
Victorian State Representative (14 times)

Roos was a highly skilled and versatile player early in his career with the ability to play wing, forward and defense. At the height of his career, he was considered the best player in the League. In 1986, he played one of the best games of his career in the Lions' final match of the season but failed to poll a single Brownlow vote. As a result, he fell one vote short of co-winners Robert DiPierdomenico and Greg Williams. Like his teammate Alastair Lynch, he departed the Lions before their demise in 1996 and landed at Sydney where he cemented a position at center half back. He played in Sydney's only Grand Final appearance in 1996 - a loss to North Melbourne. When he retired, he became an assistant coach under Rodney Eade and eventually succeeded Eade as senior coach. He finally tasted the ultimate success when he guided the Swans to their first Premiership for 72 years in 2005. Today, he heads up Sydney's football academy. Roos is perhaps one of those rare players who can be considered a hero at two different clubs.

ALLAN RUTHVEN
FITZROY 1940-41, 1943-54
222 games, 442 goals
1951-1954 - Fitzroy Coach

Honors:
Brownlow Medalist - 1950
Fitzroy Best & Fairest - 1944-46, 1948-49
Fitzroy Captain - 1948, 1950-54
Fitzroy Leading Goal Kicker - 1944-45, 1954
Fitzroy Team of the Century
Lions Life Member
AFL Hall of Fame
Fitzroy Kings of the Pride (1927-1956)
Fitzroy Greatest Team (1944-93)
Victorian State Representative (17 times)

Ruthven was a star at school level and with the Victoria Brewery before joining Fitzroy. Nicknamed ‘The Baron' after Australian Governor General Baron Hore-Ruthven, he was a brilliant rover whose ball winning ability was excellent and his ball use extremely effective. He was also very dangerous close to goal.

BILL STEPHEN
FITZROY 1947-57
162 games, 4 goals
1965-1970, 1979-1980 - Fitzroy Coach

Honors:
Fitzroy Best & Fairest - 1950, 1954
Fitzroy Captain - 1955-57
Longest serving coach in Fitzroy history (214 games)
Third longest serving coach in Club history
Fitzroy Team of the Century
Lions Life Member
AFL Jack Titus Award - 1996 (award for outstanding service to the league)
Fitzroy Greatest Team (1944-93)
Victorian State Representative (14 times)

Stephen not only had an impact as a player, but as a coach and administrator. A small back pocket player, Stephen had speed and an excellent ability to read the play. He was a also a strong mark and fearless. His coaching nous can be attributed to the mentoring of the great Norm Smith, who coached the club 1949-51. Not only did Stephen develop an excellent knowledge of the game but he was highly regarded for his ability to develop young players. In between his Fitzroy coaching stints, he coached Yarrawonga (central Victoria near the New South Wales border). He also coached Essendon 1967-77 as well as spending time as a specialist coach at South Melbourne (now Sydney), North Melbourne and St Kilda. He also had a stint on Fitzroy's match committee.

MICHAEL VOSS
BRISBANE
1992-2006
289 games - 79 with the Bears, 210 with the Lions
245 goals - 72 with the Bears, 173 with the Lions
Coach: 2009 - present

Honors:
Brownlow Medalist - 1996
Bears Best & Fairest - 1995-96
Lions Best & Fairest - 2000-01, 2003
Lions Premiership Captain - 2001, 2002, 2003
Lions Captain - 1997-2006
Longest serving Captain in Club history (10 years)
All Australian - 1996, 1999, 2001-03
Lions Kings of the Pride (1997-2006)
AFL Hall of Fame
Lions Life Member
Lions Team of the Decade Captain (1997-2006)
Queensland Hall of Fame Legend
Queensland Team of the Century Captain

As a player and coach, Voss has experienced the highs and lows of football. Yet to achieve Premiership glory as a coach, he certainly did it as one of the "Fab Four" of Brisbane's all-conquering midfield early this century. His former coach Leigh Matthews once said there was no more valuable person in football. He is not the only one, with many describing Voss as the "complete package" with his ability, leadership, professionalism, a team-first attitude and will to win at all costs. Even as a 17 year old debutant, he was impressive with his hard approach. He was a creative user of the ball and could play "tall". He suffered his share of injuries - a shoulder reconstruction in 1996, a knee injury in 1997, a badly broken leg in 1998 and an ankle reconstruction in 1999. He overcame all these to help lead the Lions to their Grand Final successes. The only award missing from his trophy cabinet is a Norm Smith Medal (best on ground in a Grand Final). Some believe he should have won it in 2002 when he was rated the Lions' best on ground. The award went instead to Collingwood's Nathan Buckley, only one of four players to win the award in a losing Grand Final side. With the likes of Jonathan Brown, Simon Black, Daniel Merrett, Matthew Leuenberger, Tom Rockliff, Jack Redden, Billy Longer and Pearce Hanley leading the next generation of Lions, the ultimate coaching success for Voss can't be far away.

GARRY WILSON
FITZROY 1971-1984
268 games, 451 goals

Honors:
Fitzroy Best & Fairest - 1972, 1976, 1978-80
Fitzroy Captain - 1981-84
Fitzroy Leading Goal Kicker - 1972-73
All Australian - 1979-80
AFL Hall of Fame
Fitzroy Team of the Century Vice-Captain
Fitzroy Kings of the Pride (1977-86)
Lions Life Member
Fitzroy Greatest Team (1944-93)
Fitzroy Night Premiership Player (1978)
Victorian State Captain (1984)
Victorian State Representative (12 times)

At 5'8" and just 142 pounds, some believed him too frail for the rigors of football. However he proved that to be false with his limitless courage and toughness. It was his amazing skill as a rover which caught the eye. Some believed him to be too courageous for his own good. As a result, he suffered a number of bad head knocks which required him to wear protective head gear late in his career. So respected was Wilson that North Melbourne offered Fitzroy a huge sum of money for his services in 1980. The club needed cash and the committee was ready to agree but Wilson refused and stayed put. He is regarded as one of the greatest players never to win a Brownlow, coming in second to Collingwood's Peter Moore in 1979 and third behind North Melbourne's Malcolm Blight and Hawk Peter Knights in 1978.

Source: lions.com.au, Encyclopedia of League Footballers, AFL Season Guide, author notes

Article last changed on Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - 8:26 PM EDT


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