2023 AFLW Grand Final Team Preview – Brisbane
DEATH, taxes and Brisbane making the AFLW Grand Final. Some things are just regular occurrences in life.
This weekend sees Brisbane play in a record fifth AFL Women’s Grand Final, which for a competition that is only up to its seventh ever Grand Final is a seriously impressive effort.
However perhaps due to not being a Victorian side, the Lions still seem to fly under the radar of a lot of people.
The owner of the most talked about knee in the AFLW this week, Davidson is an absolute key part of Brisbane’s forward line. Her marking and aerial presence is a daunting prospect for opposition so Brisbane will certainly be hoping her knee proves to be all good and she can play this weekend.
Another exciting/scary forward for a very different reason, Hodder is perhaps an even more daunting prospect to play against than Davidson. She is a sneaky player that can play in the air or out the back of the contest, so can easily get off the handle and that spells danger for any opposition.
Leading a bit of a different looking midfield this year, Anderson has had another stellar season and is the real driver of attacks out of the midfield for the Lions. She will be the one trying to get the clearance to the speedsters on the outside.
Campbell really proved how versatile she can be this season, and showed that she can be a nuisance to oppose at either end of the ground. She may also be called upon to swing forward this weekend if Davidson cannot play, but that is not a bad thing as she is a reliable forward target option.
Brisbane’s fearless leader, there are a couple of positions Koenen could end up in over the weekend, but she is sure to play an influencing role wherever she plays. She will likely play most of the game in her usual defence role, but time will tell if she gets swung into the middle to tag Jasmine Garner again like she did when the sides last met.
KEY AREAS OF FOCUS
If there is one area that the Lions absolutely dominate the Kangaroos in its tackles. They are +212 in tackles overall, and +112 in tackles inside 50, so even if they are second to the ball at all (which looking at the stats is likely) they are going to ensure clean disposals are going to be hard to come by for the Kangaroos.
Clearances is one of those areas that is both a positive and an area of concern for the Lions. When compared to the Kangaroos, they are -95 on clearances overall and -113 on stoppage clearances, but +8 in entre clearances. This is just one of those areas where Brisbane will need to maximise their strengths and minimise the influence of their weaknesses.
- Inside 50s/Inside 50 Efficiency
The big area of concern for the Lions heading into the game is around the inside 50 numbers. Although their efficiency inside 50 is only slightly worse than North Melbourne’s, they are -60 on the number of inside 50s they have recorded, so that is a stat they are going to really need to boost on Sunday.
- Will Dakota be good to go?
The big question all week surrounding the Lions has been whether star forward Davidson would play after picking up an apparent knee injury last week. She is named for the moment, but whether she takes her place remains to be seen.
- Will they be able to get over the mental scars of last year?
Brisbane does find itself in another Grand Final only a mere year after the heartbreak of last year’s decider loss to Melbourne. The memories of that day will no doubt be fresh in the mind of many of the Lions players, but will they be a fuel or a distraction?
- Can they overcome the home ground advantage?
Sunday’s Grand Final also presents a very different challenge for the Lions. They are playing at a ground they have not played at since the 2020 season, so will that be an issue for them?