What do Greg Swann, Chris Johnson and Laurie Serafini all have in common?
They were all special guests at the recent Uniting the Pride’function appropriately held in the Lions Victorian heartland of Fitzroy.
The brainchild of Kane Tancredi, a Lions fanatic and owner of the Victorian-based supporter hotel The Royal Derby, the event brought together past and present supporters from the Brisbane Lions and Fitzroy, to share a few drinks and plenty of wonderful stories.
Leading from the front was Laurie Serafini, a much-loved Fitzroy player who not only made a name for himself as a dashing backman but also as a Victorian Director of the Brisbane Lions for 14 years soon after the merger.
Recalling his first game against the Bulldogs, he had no extensive pre-game routine, warm-up or massage like in today’s football.
Instead of arriving early for the game, Serafini was at University sitting his Criminal Law exam. On finishing, he then raced to the Junction Oval in his dad's VH Holden ready to play – and kicked four goals he added.
Chris Johnson also recalled with fondness his memories of the Lions, both as a Fitzroy and Brisbane player, although he didn’t know until draft day that he would even be a Lions player.
In fact, out of all the Clubs he talked to before the draft, Fitzroy was the only Club that hadn’t interviewed him.
Lucky for the Club - Johnson became a Lion and not only played a pivotal role in the three premierships, but also provided an important link along with Alastair Lynch to the rich history of the Fitzroy Football Club.
Continuing the theme of Uniting the Pride were also Greg Swann, CEO of the Brisbane Lions, and Joan Eddy, Director of the Fitzroy Football Club, who both talked of the importance of maintaining and building this strong connection.
Judging by the strong contingent of past and present Lions supporters who turned up two days later to cheer on the boys against North Melbourne, the Pride is well and truly roaring.