Proud pair of Lions reflect on it all

CRAIG Starcevich was not showing his joy in his face but was in his words after his Brisbane Lions won the 2023 AFLW Grand Final.

Speaking to the media yesterday after the match, he said that his overwhelming emotion in that moment was “relief.”

“It’s always relief after a game of footy, for me it is, don’t know about you” he said as he turned to his skipper Bre Koenen.

“And immensely satisfying given everything that’s transpired in the last 10 months I guess with getting the list together and trying to work out what our best combo is over the 10 home and away games.”

“Still don’t think we’ve got it,” Koenen chimed in.

“No, it’s always a work in progress isn’t it?” Starcevich replied.

When asked whether the win was more satisfying after all that had happened to the group from and including the Season 7 decider, Starcevich was less certain in his response.

“It’s something we’ll probably reflect on a little bit later I reckon. It gets talked about a lot because it is a story from your angle, but for us it’s a distraction more than anything else,” he said.

“We’ve just got to get on with what we’ve got and what cards we’ve got to play, so from our point of view it’s just onwards with what we’ve got. Try and find the best combo, bring new people in, new people that have been very grateful for their opportunities and I won’t go as far as saying rusted on Brisbane Lions players, but I think winning a flag helps.

“I think there are a lot of stories out of today’s game. Lily Postlethwaite who had to wait basically two or three years to get her chance to chalk up 25 games and her 25th’s in a flag. Jennifer Dunne who has won two flags in four months if you don’t mind.”

Brisbane rallied to overcome the Kangaroos in the last quarter, but Starcevich said that before that there were a few things he said to the group at the final break.

 “Partially taking your moments, but not everyone had their best days today,” he said.

Bre’s obviously had a good one, but there will be some other people in our group that probably haven’t played their best games but have played the role that we’ve required of them on the day, and then there’s Ellie Hampson who’s had a pretty quiet year for us by her standards and sort of feeling her way back into our team being a new one, bobs up and has a really good day up forward.

“So we definitely spoke about that at half time, that it was going to be a close game and your moment will come, make sure you make the most of it, but I didn’t for the life of me envisage us rattling on four goals in the last term.”

Koenen also spoke about the relentless pressure she and the rest of her fellow defenders faced from North early on in the match.

“I think they were rolling someone up to stoppage so I was lucky enough to be the spare back there too so that may have helped,” Koenen said. “Obviously just trying to stay composed in those moments and get it going forward in the way we wanted it to, and we talked a lot about changing angles and taking risks I guess to win the game, so that’s one of our strengths and I think we did it pretty well all in all today.”

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