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The Bears of '87 reunite

Ashley Browne, AFL Media  January 22, 2018 5:35 PM

Back row (L-R): S. Reynoldson, M. Zanotti, A. Ishchenko, D. O’Keefe, F. Dunnell, B. Phillips, M. Kennedy, C. Waterson, D. Carlson, M. Mickan  Front row: B. Harris, W. Capper, P. Banfield, M. Williams, M. Withers, S. O’Sullivan. Picture: Mark Williams - Brisbane Lions

Back row (L-R): S. Reynoldson, M. Zanotti, A. Ishchenko, D. O’Keefe, F. Dunnell, B. Phillips, M. Kennedy, C. Waterson, D. Carlson, M. Mickan Front row: B. Harris, W. Capper, P. Banfield, M. Williams, M. Withers, S. O’Sullivan. Picture: Mark Williams

Sixteen of football’s hardiest pioneers were reunited last Saturday for the first time in more than 30 years, to re-live the early days of League football’s most unloved expansion team, the Brisbane Bears.

Mark Williams arranged the reunion with just two weeks notice, and it took place at his Melbourne home, with players coming from Queensland and Canberra to be there.

Every player had to bring an item of Club clothing from their time with the club.

Williams, who quit as Collingwood captain to join the fledgling Club, said it was a huge undertaking just to get the Bears off the ground. 

"What is often missed, when you look at developing Clubs now and how difficult it is for them - imagine how hard it was 30 years ago," Williams said. 

"We won six, seven and then eight games in our first three seasons. 

"We are very proud of how we did under such difficult circumstances with lots of things going on." 

He also paid tribute to the players' partners, many of whom quit their jobs to play their part in a new football adventure. They were also at the reunion on Saturday.

The Bears made their first finals series in 1995, three years after the Club moved to Brisbane from its home base, situated in a bunch of prefabricated sheds at Carrara, where Metricon Stadium now sits. 

The Bears partnered with Fitzroy in 1997 to create the Brisbane Lions.

(L-R) Mark Williams (who got the Bears' first kick), Mark Mickan (first tap) and Bernie Harris (first goal) are reunited. Picture: Mark Williams

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Mark Williams and Warwick Capper share a moment. Picture: Mark Williams
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