Lions too strong for Crows; Springfield to host decider
BRISBANE Lions are the first team into the Season 7 AFL Women’s Grand Final, after taking care of Adelaide by 23 points. After an intense opening fifteen minutes, Brisbane really opened the game up in the second quarter. Adelaide mounted a minor comeback in the second half but it was nowhere near enough, as the Lions proved too strong and moved through to their fourth Grand Final thanks to a 7.4 (46) to 3.5 (23) win.
Lions weather early pressure, dominate second term
From the opening bounce, both sides attacked the game with absolutely intense ferocity. Both teams moved the ball with blistering pace and the tackling pressure was intense. The quarter almost went completely scoreless but Brisbane got the first, and only goal of the quarter, just inside the final two minutes of the quarter.
After the intensity of the first quarter settled down, Brisbane really got to work and blew the game open in the second term. The Lions kicked four goals to none in the quarter, which ultimately broke open the game and gave them the win. Star forwards Jesse Wardlaw and Courtney Hodder took control of the game in the second term, slotting two goals apiece.
Lions build brick wall to stop Crows talls
One area that really let the Crows down was their ability to mark inside forward 50. They only took three marks inside 50 for the entire game, compared to Brisbane’s 13. It was not like Adelaide was unable to get it down there, finishing with 28 inside 50s for the game.
Some underrated Lions stars who really should get huge credit for helping the Lions get the win is defender pair Bre Koenen and Shannon Campbell. When Adelaide was peppering their forward 50, particularly in the third term, it was those two who really stood up and took a significant number of intercept marks between the pair, halting a lot of Adelaide’s forward momentum.
Tackling pressure puts heat on Crows defenders
Brisbane was able to lay 10 tackles inside 50, making it yet another week where the Lions racked up double-figure tackles in their forward 50. Winning the overall tackle count 64-45, the Lions have built their game around high pressure and then fast ball movement to ensure they always have a chance of scoring quickly and putting pressure on the opposition.
Hodder not only kicked two goals, but also laid two tackles inside 50, as did Dakota Davidson and Ruby Svarc. Svarc in particular set the tone for the night, and while she only picked up the nine disposals, laid 10 tackles. In defence, Natalie Grider laid nine in a superb defensive effort.
Hatchard holds head high
Crows star midfielder Anne Hatchard could not have done much more than what she did through the midfield for her side. In a losing performance, Hatchard racked up a game-high 25 disposals, five clearances and six marks, with the latter even more remarkable given she won more than 50 per cent of her possessions at the coalface. Also having four inside 50s and three score involvements, Hatchard worked hard offensively, but was unable to get the chocolates at the end of the day. The next highest total clearances were Chelsea Randall, Ebony Marinoff, Caitlin Gould and Rachelle Martin who all had two.
By comparison, the Lions were lead by Catherine Svarc (five clearances from 10 disposals), Emily Bates (four from 22) and Ally Anderson (three from 15). Winger Sophie Conway also managed the three clearances, but was particularly dominant with her run, recording a match-high 478 metres gained from 16 disposals, and had four marks, six inside 50s and three tackles to-boot.
Brisbane sweat on Smith
It is not quite all happy days for the Lions, with an injury concern out of the game and heading into next week. Forward Taylor Smith injured her ankle in a ruck contest and seemed to be affected by it for much of the rest of the game. Given exciting forward Zimmorlei Farquharson was an emergency and available for selection, a story for the week will be which Lions forward coach Craig Starcevich will take to Ipswich.