BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 28: Jason Akermanis of the Lions celebrates a goal during the AFL match between the Brisbane Lions and the Kangaroos at the Gabba, on August 28, 2004 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Jonathan Wood/Getty Images)

Brisbane Lions great Jason Akermanis has opened up on his side's failed attempt to win a fourth-straight premiership in 2004, blaming former AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou for the loss.

The Lions were defeated by Port Adelaide by 40 points in the final match of the season, with legendary coach Leigh Matthews looking to become the second coach ever alongside Jock McHale to claim a quartet of flags across as many campaigns.

Following their dominance throughout the 2001, 2002 and 2003 seasons, the Lions had one hand on a fourth flag as they faced the Power at the MCG on September 25, 2004.

Despite a strong start in the Grand Final, the Lions were overran by the South Australians, who claimed their maiden AFL premiership.

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The loss was heartbreaking for the Lions and their faithful in their chase for prolonged glory.

Speaking on The Jim Session Podcast, Akermanis brought light onto the weeks building up to the Grand Final, slamming the AFL's agreement to play at least one finals match at the MCG every round of the post-season.

The agreement meant Brisbane were forced to play their home preliminary final against Geelong at the MCG, a match that saw the Lions victors to tune of 12.12 (84) to 10.15 (75).

Despite the win, the scheduled time slot of Saturday night and the mandatory interstate travel infuriated the Lions, and coach Matthews.

"Andrew Demetriou and the AFL's agreement with the MCC was to have one final per week at the MCG," Akermanis said.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 18: AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou speaks to the media during the official opening of the Learning Life Centre at Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre on February 18, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

"Which is a dumb rule... and they've since changed it.

"You had to feel for (interstate) teams who had to go and play home games at the MCG.

"Andrew Demetriou, he enforced that rule which Leigh was ropeable and I mean ropeable, he still talks about it today.

"(Matthews) rang Andrew and told him in uncertain terms that 'it's the greatest piece of sh*t you've ever seen and it's a dumb rule'."

The AFL had fixtured the Lions to host the Cats at the MCG seven days prior to the Grand Final, while Port Adelaide were able to host St Kilda at AAMI Stadium on the Friday night.

Akermanis remains confident that his side would have been able to hand Geelong a comfortable loss should the match have been played at the Gabba.

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"Had it of been at home, no doubt we would of flogged them," Akermanis added.

"They wouldn't have got within 50 points."

The 2001 Brownlow medallist was also critical of having less of a break and more travel in comparison to the Power, who would go on to defeat the Lions the next week in the showcase match.

"The AFL had the St Kilda and Port Adelaide game on the Friday night, which (Port) won," he said.

"They made us play a whole 24 hours later at the MCG away.

"Back-to-back travels were also hard for us, we were susceptible to losses because of the travel.

"By the time we get home, it's Sunday afternoon. Port Adelaide have got two full days of break.

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"So we were in front at half-time and they overran us, they just had so much energy."

Akermanis stated the Lions' loss came down to Demetriou's decision to have them play in Victoria just seven days out from the Grand Final 17 years ago.

"It's all because of the AFL and Andrew Demetriou and their sh*t rules and sh*t decisions," Akermanis said.

"Because of Andrew and his sh*t-head decisions and his horrible leadership, he made us play 24 hours later, away and made us travel back.

"Andrew Demetriou did some great things for the AFL, and did some absolutely horrible things.

"He's not the easiest to guy to get along with, and in that era he won the battle and we lost the war."

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The AFL's agreement with the MCG was removed early the next year, as the stadium underwent construction on it's northern stand ahead of the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games.

The Lions failed to return to the September action in 2005, managing just 10 wins to finish 11th on the ladder.

Akermanis departed Brisbane at the conclusion of the 2006 season after 248 games with the Lions and Bears, venturing to Whitten Oval to join the Bulldogs.

The mercurial forward called-time on his AFL career in 2010 with a CV that included one Brownlow Medal, three premierships, four All-Australian selections and two Best and Fairests.

 

1 COMMENT

  1. Absolutely correct….

    and the Lions were not the first (nor the last) team to lose a grand final because a home-ground advantage was gifted to a team that did not deserve it during the finals series.

    The MCG “agreement” is simply match fixing.

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