Queensland Symphony Orchestra Perform Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast Suns AFL Anthems

For the first time in the history of the Australian Football League (AFL), the Grand Finals will not be held in Victoria but instead at the GABBA in Brisbane. With the Victorian State Government holding the contract to host these finals until 2057, this will be the only time many Queenslanders will be able to enjoy this event in their home state.

If you need something to help build that Queensland pride, Queensland Symphony Orchestra may have something for you to watch. Earlier today, the state performing arts company released their renditions of both the Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast SUNS anthems.

Filmed and edited over a few days, the orchestral anthems feature 21 musicians from QSO, standing proudly on the Kangaroo Point Cliffs overlooking Brisbane and looking down to the Gold Coast. The Orchestra commissioned the new arrangement, which was recorded under the baton of emerging conductor Stefanie Smith. You can watch both of them below:


The Brisbane Lions anthem is a rendition of the Marseillaise (French National anthem). Legend has it that Bill Stephen, a Fitzroy footballer back in the ‘50s was looking for an anthem for the Fitzroy team. At around the same time, he’d gone to see Casablanca and was inspired by the scene where the French sing the Marseillaise to drown out a Nazi song. He figured it was a great tune for a footy club and on a train trip back from Perth, he and some mates wrote the lyrics for Fitzroy. They’ve since adjusted it for the Brisbane Lions, but the tune remained.

Meanwhile, the Gold Coast SUNS theme song was born when inaugural Chairman John Witheriff and club leaders were sharing Chinese takeaway and a few beers at the Wooli Surf Club in 2010. The group were listening to songs, trying to agree on one they liked. They came across Rosco Elliott’s theme song, and the trumpet fanfares immediately won them over. They got so into it, by the end of the night, they were singing along with it and the locals in the bar were singing along as well. The rest, as they say, is history.


One of the bright things to emerge from 2020 has been seeing Queensland become the home of the AFL. Even though the AFL is a sport, there is also a long-standing musical tradition built into the game. As any red-blooded AFL team supporter knows, there is no more exhilarating moment than roaring out your team’s anthem to celebrate victory.

As Queensland’s largest musical team, we wanted to celebrate this musical connection – and cheer our on our two Queensland teams, the Gold Coast SUNS and the Brisbane Lions – by performing a rousing rendition of each team’s anthem, especially arranged for the glory and splendour of orchestral instruments.

Working with skilled arranger, Nicholas Buc, who has created orchestral arrangements for iconic Australian musicians from Tina Arena to Birds of Tokyo, we have unveiled two brand new renditions of the anthems. We hope people all over Queensland enjoy, and share the joy – Queensland is good to go!

Craig Whitehead – Queensland Symphony Orchestra Chief Executive

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