Season 8 AFLW preview: Brisbane

BRISBANE is a perennial contender in the AFL Women’s and though the off-season saw the Lions lose a number of quality players for a variety of reasons, expect last year’s grand finalists to be thereabouts again. We preview the Lions’ season.


#2 Tahlia Hickie
#3 Breanna Koenen
#4 Sharni Webb*
#4 Caitlin Wendland
#5 Jade Ellenger
#6 Lily Postlethwaite
#7 Ellie Hampson
#8 Jennifer Dunne
#9 Orla O’Dwyer
#10 Natalie Grider
#11 Phoebe Monahan
#12 Sophie Conway
#13 Kate Lutkins*
#14 Dakota Davidson
#15 Poppy Boltz
#16 Bella Smith
#17 Isabel Dawes
#18 Ally Anderson
#19 Luka Yoshida-Martin*
#20 Shannon Campbell
#21 Courtney Hodder
#22 Zimmorlei Farquharson*
#23 Dee Heslop
#24 Jade Pregelj
#25 Cathy Svarc
#26 Ella Smith
#27 Mikayla Pauga
#28 Charlotte Mullins
#29 Ruby Svarc
#30 Courtney Murphy
#31 Taylor Smith
#32 Kiara Hillier
#33 Analea McKee

*inactive list/injured


In: Elle Hampson, Jennifer Dunne, Poppy Bolz, Jade Pregelj, Courtney Murphy, Analea McKee, Caitlin Wendland
Out: Emily Bates, Jesse Wardlaw, Greta Bodey, Lulu Pullar, Gabby Collingwood, Ava Seton, Maggie Harmer


Round 1: vs. Richmond @ Brighton Homes Arena
Round 2: vs. Port Adelaide @ Alberton Oval
Round 3: vs. Sydney @ Brighton Homes Arena
Round 4: vs. North Melbourne @ UTAS Stadium
Round 5: vs. Hawthorn @ Kinetic Stadium
Round 6: vs. Collingwood @ Brighton Homes Arena
Round 7: vs. Gold Coast @ Heritage Bank Stadium
Round 8: vs. Adelaide @ Brighton Homes Arena
Round 9: vs. St Kilda @ RSEA Park
Round 10: vs. Melbourne @ Brighton Homes Arena


  • Consistency
  • Best wing combination in the league
  • Unpredictable lineup
  • Transitional running

Brisbane is one of the most consistent teams across AFL Women’s history. Besides for one year where the Lions dropped down due to losing a host of players with expansion, Brisbane has always been around the pointy end. Given the amount of change over the off-season, it allows for unpredictability.

What stands out about the Lions’ game is their transitional running and ability to use the entire ground to their advantage. Each of the 21 players on gameday buys into the system, and it allows the 2021 premiers to test opposition defensive zones. Though they ultimately fell short on grand final day last year, there was plenty to like about their season.

The wing combination of Orla O’Dwyer and Sophie Conway is the best in the league, with their two-way running between the arcs. Though the Lions will be minus a lot of quality players, bringing in Ellie Hampson and Jade Pregelj to add to the experience, while Poppy Boltz can fill a defensive role.


  • Overcoming loss of key players
  • Forward depth will be tested

The obvious question mark for the Lions is how they will overcome the loss of key players in Season 8. Emily Bates and Greta Bodey both headed to Hawthorn, Jesse Wardlaw went to St Kilda, Kate Lutkins moved to the inactive list as she is expecting her first child, and Zimmorlei Farquharson is also inactive taking a season off.

Up forward, three of the four marking targets for the Lions have departed which means a lot falls on the shoulders of Dakota Davidson with Courtney Hodder at her feet. The classy Mikayla Pauga will get more opportunities again, while Taylor Smith will likely be the main key tall inside 50. Brisbane has plenty of midfielders who can kick goals such as Bella Dawes and once overcoming her second anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury, Lily Postlethwaite which will be important.


The obvious choice is the reigning league best and fairest winner, Ally Anderson. The star midfielder came out of the shadows to earn the credit she has always deserved, backing up the effort of Bates from the season before. She will be the key leader in the midfield now and is a player who is always hard to stop with her ability to win plenty of it around the contest and working hard in transition.


Ellie Hampson is a player to keep an eye on after coming across from the Gold Coast Suns. A natural inside midfielder who is clean at the coalface and strong in tackles, she fills the perfect void left by Bates to assist Anderson in there. She has played 23 games over her four seasons with injury issues plaguing her a little, but if fully fit, she will be a huge inclusion for the Lions.


Brisbane is a real watch and see team in Season 8. The Lions have incredible depth across the board, but any side losing the quality from its best 21 between seasons would struggle to replicate the same form. In saying that, the Lions are system based, and there were plenty not in the best 21 that came in and could perform a role. Expect the Lions to be at minimum a finals team, but likely a top four side again.

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