Last quarter Lions roar past Crows

BRISBANE’S double chance hopes increased significantly on the weekend, with a favourable set of results taking place. The Lions knocked off the previously undefeated Adelaide at Brighton Homes Arena, before West Coast upset fifth placed Essendon, and Gold Coast had to split the points with Port Adelaide.

Those trio of results meant Brisbane went into outright fourth spot, which had it been a loss – and the Bombers defeated the Eagles – the Lions would have slipped into fifth. Instead, they sit four points and a massive 60.9 per cent clear of the red sash. By Gold Coast drawing, it also kept the Suns – who have a favourable last fortnight like the Bombers, two points adrift of them as well.

Even Collingwood defeating Geelong worked out well, with the Magpies’ percentage far lower than the Cats, and the tight win mean the black and white army had to settle for fifth rather than the Bombers’ fourth. However, the focus is on the Lions, who are coming off an impressive come-from-behind win over arch rivals, Adelaide, a side they have lost to, and then beaten in AFLW Grand Finals.

Brisbane booted three goals to one in the second term to take control of the game and move 14 points clear at the main break. The one issue was inaccuracy, with six behinds also coming in the term, and by only adding one more minor score in the premiership quarter, the Lions found themselves trailing again.

Adelaide kicked clear with a 3.2 to 0.1 third term to lead 38-33, though it was anyone’s game. Neck-and-neck throughout as one would expect from two of the title contenders, it took a special goal from Isabel Dawes to break the deadlock and put the Lions in front, five minutes into the last quarter.

At the nine-minute mark, defender Sarah Goodwin levelled the scores with a behind, but it would prove to be the only addition to the Crows’ three quarter time score. Lions Lily Postlethwaite and Charlotte Mullins would also add behinds to ensure the Crows had to kick a winning major that never came.

Despite being minus-47 in disposals, the Lions made a statement on the inside, winning a massive 116-101 contested possessions, and laying 71 tackles to 48. Though the Crows had the better of the outside game – 162-118 uncontested possessions – the Lions pressured Adelaide into making mistakes.

The Crows had seven more turnovers (67-60), as the Lions won the centre clearances convincingly (9-3) which was ultimately the difference in the game. Star midfielder Ally Anderson produced a typical performance with 28 disposals, four marks, five tackles and six clearances, while winger Sophie Conway attended more stoppages and came away with an equal game-high six clearances.

The key was keeping Adelaide’s stars from having a huge influence, and while Ebony Marinoff still got off the chain with 34 disposals, six marks and nine tackles, she only had the three clearances. Lions ruck Tahlia Hickie did not win much of the all, but had 29 hitouts and three clearances from just three disposals, outlasting Crows duo Jess Allan and Montana McKinnon who combined for 24 hitouts.

Brisbane heads to Victoria in Round 9 to take on St Kilda at RSEA Park on Saturday afternoon. Win that game, and a double chance is assured for the Lions, with a final round clash against ladder leaders Melbourne a significantly more difficult assignment.

Adelaide has already secured a double chance thanks to the Bombers’ loss, with a home game against North Melbourne set to determine whether the Crows play at home or away in the qualifying final. They then finish the season with a road trip out west to face the Eagles.

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