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Brisbane battle sees demons overwhelm



In the finals series starting next week, MELBOURNE will take on North Melbourne as it starts its Premiership defence. In the season finale, Brisbane defeated North Melbourne by a decisive 25 points.


The Lions were fierce from the start and showed no signs of weakness in the Grand Final rematch, defeating the opposition 8.5 (53) to 4.4 (28) at Brighton Homes Arena in their finest performance of the year.

They will play the Crows in a qualifying final the following weekend after defeating the top three clubs in the home and away seasons—Adelaide, North Melbourne, and the Demons.

Melbourne fought valiantly, overcoming the late withdrawal of Paxy Paxman (hamstring) and Rhi Watt’s concussion during the game, securing a top-two berth ahead of the contest.

The Lions had no bad players on the field, with Dakota Davidson and Sophie Conway each kicking two goals.

With 22 disposals and a dazzling run up and down the wing to create drive from half-back to half-forward and return to support her defensive unit, Jade Ellenger had the game of her life.

When the game was really in the balance, Ally Anderson (22), Belle Dawes (21), and Cathy Svarc (eight tackles and nine tackles) helped establish the upper hand around the ball, while captain Bre Koenen flourished in a full-time return to defense, recording 12 of her 22 interceptions.

Special recognition should also go to Courtney Hodder, who was placed into the midfield for short spurts and caused havoc with her speed and contagious spirit with her 12 tackles.

Brisbane controlled the whole of the game, outscoring Melbourne 81–57 despite having 42 inside 50s to 24 disposals.

The Lions controlled field position early on thanks to the wind in their favor, but even though they scored 19 points in the first two minutes, their lead was just eight points at the first intermission.

Their two goals were the result of strong ball movement in the defensive half, but too frequently Melbourne’s defense held up well as they raced ahead under duress.

In the second term with the wind, the Demons took advantage of their opportunity.

They gained the lead when Tayla Harris took a good mark to goal, and Kate Hore and Tyla Hanks swiftly followed.

However, Brisbane deserves credit for not giving up. They recovered a slim half-time lead thanks to goals from Charlie Mullins, who started in the backline and swept the entire field, and Davidson, who scored after a solid pack mark.

Watch this one in particular

Jen Dunne, who moved to Australia from Ireland just before the season, was already playing in her eighth game of Australian football. With the responsibility of stopping Eden Zanker, the top goalkicker in the league, Dunne excelled, recording nine intercepts while preventing Zanker from scoring. Her 178-cm height and obvious quickness provide the Lions another important defensive weapon going into the championship. With 20 goals each, Zanker and teammate Hore are expected to tie for first place on the goalkicking lists.

Harris, in the air

You would never have known it from watching Tayla Harris, though, as it was her first game back following a month-long absence due to a hamstring issue. Early in the game, the standout Melbourne forward showed off his skills by soaring above Lions defender Nat Grider to grab a superb mark on center wing. In a promising performance, she ended with 11 disposals, 1.1 and four disputed marks.

Next up

Next weekend, Melbourne will play North Melbourne in the qualifying final, while the Lions will go to Adelaide to play the Crows. At the end of the round, the AFL will confirm the dates and times.

BRISBANE              2.2     4.3     8.4     8.5 (53)
MELBOURNE          1.0     4.0     4.1     4.4 (28)

Brisbane: Davidson 2, Conway 2, R.Svarc, Smith, Mullins, Hampson
Sherriff, Hore, Harris, Hanks

Brisbane: Ellenger, Koenen, Hodder, Conway, Anderson, Dawes
Pearce, Hore, Purcell, Hanks, Gillard

Watt (concussion)

Brisbane: Nil
Paxy Paxman (hamstring) replaced in selected side by Georgia Gall

Reports: Nil

Crowd: 3,004 at Brighton Homes Arena




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