The North Melbourne Tasmanian Kangaroos' first AFLW Grand Final has ended in heartache after Brisbane won by 17 points at Ikon Park.

The Lions withstood a ferocious Kangaroo effort to win their second AFLW premiership, overrunning the Roos in the final quarter to win 7.2 (44) to 4.3 (27).

KANGAROOS v LIONS Full match coverage and stats

Big forward Dakota Davidson was the match-winner, kicking two huge fourth-quarter goals despite having been appeared unlikely to start the game all week due to a knee injury.

Club champion Jas Garner was immense for the Kangaroos, putting herself in harm's way and kicking both their first-half goals.

She placed second in voting for the Best on Ground medal behind winner Bre Koenen after finishing with 24 possessions, 17 of them contested.

Such was the Lions' intensity, they set an AFLW record for tackles, laying 110, and held North Melbourne scoreless in the final term.

The Kangaroos had suffered a significant blow in the opening minutes when last week's best-afield, the lively Jenna Bruton, was felled by a right foot injury, unable to put any weight on the leg.


The first quarter itself was tense and scrappy, Courtney Hodder and Mia King themselves laying eight and seven tackles, respectively. Chances deep in attack were few and far between.

After a week of being in the headlines (presumably much to the humble Garner's own distaste) after missing out once again in the AFLW best and fairest count, it took a beautiful Garner set shot from 48m to kick the opening goal, coming 16 minutes into the game.


Brisbane skipper Breanna Koenen – generally playing as the spare in defence, with North opting to use their free player around the footy – was simply outstanding throughout, showing immense bravery on many occasions to take a goal-saving mark under pressure.

Sometimes in Grand Finals it's as simple as taking your chances, and that's what Charlie Mullins did from the 50m mark, wheeling and kicking to the top of the square, with the ball skipping through an out-of-alignment North defence for the Lions' first.

Koenen was swung onto Garner, starting in the middle, and while she didn't completely shut down the superstar, her influence was somewhat quelled.

"Zombie" from Irish band The Cranberries hit the PA as Orla O'Dwyer kicked a clever bouncing snap early in the third, giving Brisbane the lead for the first time in the game.

It signalled the steely resolve of the Brisbane side, lifting its pressure around the contest and beginning to turn the tide in the clearances.

The heavy North-dominated crowd could sense the turning tide, rising in volume in an attempt to urge their side forward.

It worked.

Kate Shierlaw – who had barely been sighted to this point – took a strong contested mark, beating out two Brisbane opponents, and converted truly from a tight angle to snatch back the lead.


Ash Riddell streamed out of the centre, three North players laid a tackle (with an excitable Riddell celebrating before the umpire had even called holding the ball), with Alice O'Loughlin kicking truly.

But there was a final twist in the tale yet, with the polarising Davidson – who Lions fans love while she gets under the skin of opposition supporters – shook off her knee injury and stood tall to kick not just the first, but the second of the final term as well.

Integral Brisbane winger Sophie Conway underwent a head injury assessment at three-quarter time and into the fourth term, but returned, while the tough-as-nails Shannon Campbell received a series of heavy knocks throughout the game.

Alongside Garner, Mia King stood tall in the contest for the Roos, recording a game-high 12 clearances and 19 touches.

For the Lions Belle Dawes ran her heart out, with a game-high 18 contested possessions, 20 touches and 13 tackles, while Ally Anderson bobbed up at important moments to finish with 20 disposals and six clearances.

Devastating Roos blow

She was the match-winner in the one-point preliminary final win over Adelaide, but Jenna Bruton's Grand Final lasted just three minutes, suffering what coach Darren Crocker later confirmed to be an Achilles tendon injury. The diminutive Roo had jumped high for a successful, slap-down intercept before landing and moving to take off on her right foot, crumbling to the deck instead of running. She had a moon boot and crutches by the three-quarter time break, hobbling out for the final address for the year from Crocker.

North Melbourne      1.0   2.2  4.3   4.3 (27)
Brisbane                    0.0   2.1  3.2   7.2 (44)

North Melbourne: Garner 2, O'Loughlin, Shierlaw
Brisbane: Hampson 2, Davidson 2, Koenen, Mullins, O'Dwyer

North Melbourne: Garner, M. King, Riddell, Rennie, Kearney
Brisbane: Koenen, Dawes, Anderson, Grider, Hodder

North Melbourne: Bruton (Achilles)
Brisbane: Conway (head knock)

Crowd: 12,616 at Ikon Park


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