Brisbane are AFLW premiers for the first time after the Lions rode a third-quarter surge to a stunning 18-point upset win over the Crows at Adelaide Oval.
In a gutsy display by the defence, the Lions then built a stonewall in the final quarter to foil a never-say-die blitz by the frantic Crows.
That superb defensive performance underpinned Brisbane’s first grand final win on their third attempt, the visitors blunting Adelaide’s vaunted attack in a 6.2 (38) to 3.2 (20) win on Saturday.
Alexandra Anderson and Emily Bates led the way with 23 possessions each, Kate Lutkins, Breanna Koenen and Shannon Cambell were outstanding down back and Jess Wuetschner and Courtney Hodder kicked two goals each.
Catherine Svarc blanketed key Adelaide midfielder Ebony Marinoff, who didn’t have her usual influence with 16 touches.
Crows superstar Erin Phillips kicked four goals the last time these teams met but went goalless on a quiet day by her standards.
With Chelsea Randall sidelined with a concussion, the Crows also lost stand-in skipper Angela Foley with a knee injury late in the third quarter, with Lions captain Emma Zielke also failing to see out the game with a hamstring injury.
There was plenty of heat around the stoppages early and the Lions settled quicker, Hodder snapping truly to quiet the home crowd.
UP! WEEKEND! Here’s your motivation!
AFLW player, Jess Wuetschner, was struck by lightning in January while working on the docks.
She came back and just won the Grand Final with the Brisbane Lions.
— NXY Multi Sports (@MultiNxy) April 17, 2021
But Adelaide managed to soak up the early pressure and work into the contest, Stevie-Lee Thompson tying it up after she shrugged a tackle and bounced through the Crows’ first.
Adelaide capitalised on a rare Lutkins error early in the second quarter, with Danielle Ponter kicking truly to give her side the lead for the first time.
As the quarter progressed it was Brisbane’s turn to soak up some pressure.
The Crows had eight more inside 50s than the visitors for the term, but couldn’t capitalise while Brisbane counter-punched with great effect.
Hodder’s second goal was an acrobatic stunner from a tight angle and Wuetschner gave the Lions a five-point halftime lead with a superb snap in traffic less than a minute before the main break.
Will to win
There was an air of destiny about the Lions after the restart as Adelaide pressed unsuccessfully and Wuetschner bounced through a brilliant goal from 50 metres out against the run of play.
Retiring veteran Lauren Arnell toe-poked home a long ball from Svarc shortly before three-quarter time then Bella Dawes landed a hammer blow with a goal as the siren sounded to make it a 22-point game.
With Foley out of the contest, Adelaide’s players sought out Randall on the sideline for some words of wisdom during the break.
Eloise Jones gave them hope with a goal a minute in, but the Crows couldn’t find a way through Brisbane’s defence again.