AFL wants regular Easter match in Brisbane

The Lions host the Pies on Easter Thursday and it could become a regular AFL fixture.
The Lions host the Pies on Easter Thursday and it could become a regular AFL fixture.

Brisbane delivering on their much-touted potential will be crucial to the Lions securing a permanent Easter Thursday match at the Gabba.

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan says the feel-good factor around the Lions heading into 2019 has the league eager to explore turning their round five clash with Collingwood into a regular part of the calendar.

The April 18 clash with the Magpies will be Brisbane's first Thursday night game in five years and renews a game that was once a tradition for the clubs.

Brisbane hosted Collingwood in their first Easter Thursday match in 2003 and their most recent Good Friday eve match was against Richmond in 2014.

McLachlan will attend the April 18 clash and wants the Lions to return to regular Easter Thursday action.

"They've got to deliver, they know that, but they're feel-good," McLachlan said of Chris Fagan's men, who are tipped by many to be the big improvers of 2019.

"We would love for that to be a permanent or semi-permanent slot.

"There's a bit to happen there yet but Collingwood are keen, I know that, and Brisbane are keen, but we need to have a look at this year and see how the game plays out.

"We know it can work. We know the people travel. We know the Brisbane supporters support the slot so if we can make it work, we'd love to do that."

The hype around the Lions is in stark contrast to their Queensland neighbours Gold Coast, who are widely tipped to finish last in this season's competition.

After losing co-captains Tom Lynch and Steven May to Richmond and Melbourne respectively, the Suns have undergone a complete reset of their operations.

McLachlan believes the changes have been positive and he's backing the short-term pain to lead to a long-term gain under chairman Tony Cochrane and chief executive Mark Evans.

"It will take some time but I feel very confident in the leadership of Tony and Mark and the decisions they've made," McLachlan said.

"If you get the right people in the right slots, with time, the system rewards you.

"They have the talent there, they've got a great facility and they get to be there all year - they were very disjointed last year.

"They're building something. You've got to deliver on that but they feel like they're in a different spot this year to last year."

Australian Associated Press