Contributed by: Sean FinlaysonThe figure of a superstar celebrating in Brisbane Lions colours while being worshipped in front of a sell out crowd of 52,000 Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane is not your everyday occurence. The Brisbane Lions last week received a welcome promotional boost from rock's bad boy, when Robbie Williams wore a Brisbane Lions jumper for most of the concert as part of his Close Encounters tour. Williams confessed that he is a fan of the club, reportedly staying up late to watch the match of the day from London. During the performance he is reported to have made references to Lions stars Jonathan Brown and other members of the side.
While Suncorp Stadium is used to seeing its fair share of footy guernseys, it is unusual to see the sleeveless variety there. Suncorp Stadium is home to the Brisbane Broncos, and the AFL's rival code, rugby league, and the Lions home of the Gabba is on the other side of town.
The story has been well reported in Queensland through the Courier Mail Robbie Rocked, the Gold Coast Bulletin's front page and local television news.
A sign of the growing international awareness of the AFL is the growing list of international celebrities adopting an AFL club. Among much publicity, US star Rob Lowe allied himself to Collingwood back in 2003, leading Eddie McGuire to seek out other Hollwywood actors who may come on board (see Susan, Time - Eddie's touch of Hollywood). Closer to home, actress Nicole Kidman is known for her love of the Sydney Swans (as reported in Kidman heads army of Swans 'true believers'). However Robbie Williams is one of the first British acts to show support for the code. A recognition of the support from overseas, particularly from a high profile personality and moreso someone from the "mother country" will no doubt have a big impact on the locals who are just beginning to get a real taste for the indigenous game.
The Brisbane Lions website Robbie rocks with Lions acknowledges the gesture. For the Lions, Robbie Williams' concert comes at a time when the club has been rocked by the exodus of its old guard of premiership players and are faced with the challenge of another year trying to claw their way back into the top eight.
World Footy News