Pies and Lions grudge match set for Easter
COLLINGWOOD president Eddie McGuire has called on the black-and-white army to invade Brisbane when the Magpies take on the Lions in an Easter Thursday blockbuster next year.
Brisbane will host the 2018 grand finalists at the Gabba on Thursday, April 18 in a stand-alone, prime time Round 5 showdown.
The match-up between the two clubs that contested the 2002 and 2003 AFL grand finals will carry extra spice as former Brisbane captain Dayne Beams will return to the Gabba after asking to be traded back to Collingwood in the recent trade period.
The Lions have hosted a handful of Easter Thursday matches in the past but lost the coveted timeslot as they tumbled down the ladder and stayed there.
But optimism about what senior coach Chris Fagan and his young squad may deliver in 2019 after glimpses of promise in 2017 and 2018 has seen the Lions roar back to relevance.
Brisbane will host reigning premiers West Coast in Round 1 and the Collingwood clash gives the Lions supporters a bumper start to the 2019 season.
But McGuire wants to see plenty of black and white in the Gabba grandstands.
"We want the Magpie army to march on Queensland. They're going to come by trains, planes and automobiles,' McGuire said.
"This isn't just about the game - we hope our fans stick around and enjoy a weekend in Queensland.
"Queensland is the second home ground for Collingwood supporters. Our supporters just love coming to Queensland.''
Lions CEO Greg Swann called on Brisbane supporters to get to the Gabba to help the club keep the Easter Thursday fixture long-term.
"We hope this will be the first of many Easter Thursday fixtures versus Collingwood,'' Swann said.
"Come Easter next year, we're expecting huge crowds at the Gabba when the Magpie Army head to Queensland.
"Dayne Beams' move south will no doubt add to the intensity of the match but I'm confident we'll take the four points at the Gabba.''
Swann said the state Government and Tourism Minister Kate Jones had helped secure the blockbuster and will throw its support behind the match which will be promoted as a major event on Queensland's tourism calendar in 2019.
Jones is happy for Collingwood supporters to follow the advice of their president and march on the Gabba.
"Eddie could sell ice to Eskimos. All we're asking him to do is to sell sunshine to Victorians in the middle of winter,'' Jones said.
"Collingwood is notorious for its large, travelling fan base. We know they'll come out in force at Easter.
"TEQ (Tourism Events Queensland) will be working closely with both clubs, Collingwood and the Lions, to make sure we turn this into a huge blockbuster and something that can grow in the future.''