New era roars into Queensland football
By MARCO MONTEVERDE
A NEW era in Queensland football has begun and the message from players, coaches and officials is clear ? forget the past and look ahead to the future.
The Sunshine State's A-League team will be known as the Queensland Roar.
The name and impressive logo, both unveiled yesterday at the Brisbane International Motor Show, ensure the history of Queensland Lions, chosen for an A-League spot ahead of the Brisbane Strikers, isn't totally forgotten.
But three former Strikers players who made the switch to the Roar ? defender Karl Dodd, midfielder Matt McKay and striker Royce Brownlie ? insist it's a new beginning and urge the Strikers faithful to support their new team.
"Everybody's got to get behind this team for us to be successful," Dodd said.
"There's no reason why people shouldn't be supporting the Queensland Roar."
McKay said: "Strikers supporters should come over and support Lions. We've got five former Strikers players in the squad, so hopefully that'll be enough for people to come watch us."
Brownlie said "at the end of the day, we're all Queenslanders". "Whether it's the Strikers or Lions, we've all joined and amalgamated," he said.
"The players have moved over and we've taken the best of the best."
"Everybody should get behind Queensland, not a name, but Queensland."
Roar coach Miron Bleiberg pitied Strikers supporters who elected not to make the journey to Suncorp Stadium when the A-League kicked off in August.
"There'll be a small bunch of people who still insist on holding a grudge and that reflects on them, not on us," Bleiberg said.
"The fact that the name has changed now ? it's not Lions, it's not the Strikers ? it's Roar and it's Queensland and it's football, it's not soccer anymore.
"I think that's enough excuses to forget the past."
Roar chief executive Lawrence Oudendyk said the club's aim was to "appeal to all Queensland football followers".
"We've signed several Strikers players, because we thought they could add value to our squad," Oudendyk said.
"We don't have any problems with the Strikers ? we've spoken to them several times since the announcement of the league.
"Strikers fans are more than welcome."
Dodd envisaged a day when the Strikers would join the Roar in the A-League.