Brisbane forward Dakota Davidson has booted two last-quarter goals to help deliver the Lions a stunning 17-point AFLW grand final victory over North Melbourne at Princes Park.
After trailing by seven points at three-quarter time, the Lions were able to avenge last year’s defeat to Melbourne in the season decider by storming home to win 7.2 (44) to 4.3 (27) for their second AFLW premiership.
Davidson was under an injury cloud all week after damaging her knee in the preliminary final win over Geelong, but stepped up when it mattered on Sunday after struggling for impact in the first three quarters.
The 24-year-old made no mistake twice in the final term after taking two big marks, converting both her set-shots to swing the match in the Lions’ favour.
Ellie Hampson’s second goal with three minutes remaining sealed the match, but Lions captain Bre Koenen — who was voted best on ground — added an exclamation mark with a major in the dying seconds.
It was a tight contest throughout the grand final in front of a packed house at Princes Park.(Getty Images: Morgan Hancock)
The Lions kicked just three goals up to the final change but managed 4.0 and kept the Kangaroos goalless in the fourth term as their fitness and tackling pressure won out.
It was the Lions’ fifth grand final appearance from seven completed AFLW seasons to certify themselves as genuine powerhouses of the competition, along with triple-premiership winners Adelaide.
Their previous AFLW premiership victory came in 2021.
Jasmine Garner was immense for the Kangaroos in the loss to the Lions.
The Kangaroos were led superbly by superstar midfielder Jasmine Garner.
Garner, who again missed out on winning the league best-and-fairest despite an excellent season, set the tone for the Kangaroos out of the middle and up forward.
The 29-year-old had to work overtime when her midfield partner Jenna Bruton injured her right foot in the opening minutes and took no further part in the match.
Look back at how the action unfolded in our blog.
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AFLW grand final: North Melbourne vs Brisbane
The Lions are receiving their medals
The crowd has thinned out, but there remains a few pockets of vocal Brisbane fans making more than enough noise for everyone.
Bre Koenen is the player of the match
Erin Phillips presents the medal to Brisbane’s captain, who now has to make a short speech before her actual speech.
Well deserved for Koenen. She held up the defence when the Lions were under the pump, she moved into midfield when Brisbane badly needed to get a grip of the clearances and she floated forward to kick the game-sealing goal.
That grand final winning feeling
The presentation is about to get underway, but the celebrations are well and truly underway on the field and in the stands.
Brisbane’s magic moment
The sweetest sound of all.
Breanna Koenen — best on ground?
I had Jas Garner leading the medal from Koenen just at half-time, but that second-half performance from the Lions’ skipper sealed the deal in my books.
The match-sealing goal? Icing on the cake. She was incredible in defence, the midfield and eventually in the forward line too. An inspirational leader.
FT: THE LIONS HAVE DONE IT! Brisbane are premiers again!
Incredible! One of the greatest final-quarter performances in AFL grand final history, men’s or women’s. The Brisbane Lions have come from the clouds to run away with victory and claim their second AFLW premiership.
It’s heartbreak for North Melbourne, who will be shellshocked at having let this game slip away. But they ran into an unstoppable force in these Brisbane Lions, who simply refused to let this game go any other way.
Bre Koenen, Dakota Davidson, Ally Anderson, Nat Grider, take a bow. What an unbelievable victory.
1′: Bre Koenen kicks the sealer! The Lions are premiers!
The skipper stands tall, as she has done all day! As she has done all year! Bre Koenen’s snap on goal makes a sure thing of it.
Brisbane are champions again at last!
2′: Sophie Conway saw the grand final on her boot!
She streamed inside 50, took a bounce, lined them up … and missed the lot.
Not that it will matter a whole lot at this point, it’s a maroon, blue and gold day today!
2′: Two minutes to play
A Lions chant erupts around Princes Park. The Roos haven’t been able to move the ball effectively at all in this final quarter.
The Lions are nearly there.
3′: Hampson kicks the goal! The Lions are on the cusp of glory!
A final quarter turnaround to go down in Brisbane Lions history! They lead it by 11 points now with just three minutes to play.
The Lions have a hand on that cup now.
4′: Free kick Brisbane! Ellie Hampson will kick at goal
A slight hold from Sarah Wright has given Hampson the chance to just about seal the grand final.
Surely she kicks it …
6′: Six minutes to play
North Melbourne have it inside 50, but a ruck free kick against Rennie releases the pressure.
8′: Dakota Davidson puts Brisbane in front!
What a rapid turnaround! The Lions have started taking over at the stoppages, and Dakota Davidson has started taking over the forward line.
They’ve got North on the back foot now with 7:46 to play. What a grand final!
9′: Davidson marks again! She’s taking over!
And now Dakota Davidson can put Brisbane in front! This kick from closer to goal than her last.
10′: Brisbane lifting around the stoppages
It feels like the Lions are getting a bit of control around the clearances for the first time today.
Davidson nearly had a chance for another mark inside 50, but coughed up a free kick for a crude push.
13′: Davidson converts! The Lions are back within a point!
A perfect start from Brisbane, who kick a goal from their first entry inside 50 of the final quarter. It’s game on now!
14′: Dakota Davidson! Strong mark inside 50
And she’s within range. The kick from Dawes to the hot spot was well weighted, but Davidson still had a lot to do.
Davidson will kick from 40.
14′: North trying to shut the game down
A few minutes taken off the clock and the ball has hardly moved past the centre. The Roos will be happy to make this as scrappy and ugly as possible, the Lions need it outside and in space.
17′: The final quarter is underway
Now or never for Brisbane. North Melbourne can just about taste premiership glory.
It’s only seven points. This will be a huge last quarter.
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Source: AFL NEWS ABC