The Gabba is one of the most famous sporting stadia in the world with a history as colourful as its name. The Gabba is a venue known for hosting a range of different sports from Aussie Rules, cricket, soccer, and both codes of rugby. Cricket has been played at the site of the ground for more than a century, with the first stands being erected soon after the location was set aside for sporting events in 1895. The stadium is officially known as The Brisbane Cricket Ground but is known as The Gabba because of the suburb of Brisbane it is in, Woolloongabba.
The history of Australian Rules Football at The Gabba
The Gabba is best known around the world as a cricket ground commonly accepted to have the fastest pitches in Australia. However, the stadium has built a solid reputation as a home for Brisbane’s many AFL teams, including the Brisbane Lions since 1997 and the Bears in the mid-1990s. The history of Aussie Rules at the Brisbane Cricket Ground dates to the first years of the 20th-century when the Queensland Football League held its finals in the stadium. During the 2015 AFL season, the record for the largest attendance at a football game was broken when over 37,000 fans attended the game between the Brisbane Lions and Collingwood.
The Brisbane Lions at The Gabba
In November 1996, two of the stalwarts of Aussie Rules combined in a merger of Fitzroy and the Brisbane Bears to create the Brisbane Lions. The club may be one of the latest entrants into the Australian Football league, but they have also built a structure allowing them to become one of the most successful clubs of the 21st-century. The club made a promising start to their first campaign as a combined team during the 1997 season when they qualified for the Finals but failed to extend their season beyond the first qualifying round. Playing their home games at The Gabba throughout their history has proven a successful option for the Lions as they went on to complete a hat-trick of Premiership titles when between 2001 and 2003.
Australian Rules and More At The Gabba
The Brisbane Lions are not the only club to appear at The Gabba as icons of various sports have made their way to this iconic stadium whose name comes from the Aboriginal name meaning, ‘fight talk place.’ Aussie Rules has taken place at The Gabba since the early 1900s with the Queensland Football League holding games at the stadium from 1905 to 1914. The League returned to The Gabba at various times from the 1950s to the 1980s when AFL Queensland was formed. During the 1950s and 60s, many British soccer teams also made their way to Australia to play exhibition matches at The Gabba including Blackpool F.C., Manchester United, and Hearts. Perhaps the most famous global use of the stadium is the opening test of each Australian leg of cricket’s Ashes being played at the Brisbane Cricket Ground since the 1950s.