|Venue:||Metricon Stadium, Gold Coast.|
|Date:||Tuesday 25th January, 2022 (6.10 pm).|
|Result:||Lost by 35 points.|
|Goalkickers:||C. Jones 3, N. Stevens 1, G. Gee, D. Vescio, B. Vickers, Rushed 0.1.|
|Umpires:||Ray Chamberlain, James Strybos, Christopher Melin.|
Match ReviewWith Zim and vigour: Dream debut propels Lions to dominant win
Brisbane rode a memorable debut by teenager Zimmorlei Farquharson to get its premiership defence on track with an emphatic 35-point triumph over Carlton at Metricon Stadium on Tuesday night. Playing their first game in 16 days following an opening round loss to Adelaide, the Lions were ballistic in both their defensive pressure and speed of ball movement from the opening minutes in their 9.9 (63) to 4.4 (28) triumph. The win could have come at a cost though, with tall forward Taylor Smith being helped from the ground early in the final quarter with what appeared to be a serious right knee injury. Farquharson was outstanding in the win, the lanky half-forward setting up a goal for Jesse Wardlaw with her first touch and never looking back.
Wearing a long-sleeved jumper in the humid conditions, she finished with 12 disposals, five marks and a clever final quarter goal in a performance highlighted by blistering pace and poise beyond her years. Brisbane led by 12 points at quarter-time following two goals to Wardlaw and extended to 20 at the half with Jess Wuetschner and Courtney Hodder capitalising on the swift ball movement with majors of their own. The absence of All-Australian defender Kate Lutkins (knee) for the first time in Brisbane's history and 2021 leading goalkicker Dakota Davidson (foot) seemed to make little difference against a flat-footed Blues. Emily Bates was magnificent in the midfield, gathering 23 disposals, including seven clearances and kicking a goal to slightly edge magnificent Maddy Prespakis (27) in a terrific duel. Nat Grider and Phoebe Monahan were outstanding in the backline, while wingers Orla O'Dwyer and Jade Ellenger provided plenty of drive through the middle of the ground.
Zimmie Farquharson's first touch will be one she long remembers. Gathering the ball on centre wing, the country Queensland product sped away, taking a bounce before pumping the ball deep inside 50 and on to the chest of Jesse Wardlaw at the top of the goalsquare. It would spark the Lions and begin a debut to remember.
Brisbane dominated in most areas, particularly its speed of ball movement from turnover, but where it really excelled was defensive pressure. The hungry Lions laid a whopping 17 tackles inside their forward 50, led by Orla O'Dwyer (four) and Courtney Hodder (three) to Carlton's three. In turn, this helped them to a landslide 49-29 inside 50 advantage to provide plenty of chances for the forwards.
"It looked on the video just a rolled ankle. That's the way the physios have explained it, but you never know until you scan them. Hopefully it's just a garden variety rolled ankle." – Brisbane coach Craig Starcevich (on injured forward Taylor Smith)
"Brisbane's game tonight was as good a game as I've seen a team play. We found the level now. They are the premiers and we knew that coming in, but they played a game tonight that really showed us up in just about all facets of the contest." – Carlton coach Daniel Harford
It appeared that heading into the night, it would be the midfield battle where the game was won and lost. However, despite having no issue winning the ball out of the middle, the Game Changers were jumped by the hosts. Springing the counter attack successfully, Brisbane caught Carlton in transition and capitalised off turnover, kicking the first three goals of the game. A late free kick and classy snap from Courtney Jones saw the Blues hit the scoreboard right on the quarter-time siren, kicking her third goal in as many games. The Blues trailed by two straight kicks at the first change, but midfield star Maddy Prespakis was doing everything in her power to keep her side in it — she had seven disposals and three clearances in the first term.
In game No.1, Brooke Vickers did a number of nice things in the early going, providing a steady head and showcasing her composure and rebound from defence. A clever mark and finish for Nicola Stevens - a carbon copy of her goal last week - brought the Blues back within a kick. Brea Moody proved a vital outlet for Carlton, drifting into her defensive half and providing an outlet for an at-times under-siege backline. However, the dam wall eventually burst with minutes remaining in the term, as successive quick goals saw the Blues trail by 20 points at the main break.
The most evident change that was made at the interval was Lucy McEvoy, who was stationed behind the ball to prevent Brisbane’s avalanche of inside 50s. When all was said and done for the term, the Blues held sway with the hosts but weren’t able to make any inroads on the scoreboard, wasting some promising moments with just three behinds for the term. It was a score which was matched by the Lions at the other end, meaning it was that 20-point deficit which the Blues had to negotiate in the final term.
Three early goals to the hosts took the game away from the Blues, with the reigning premiers kicking out to a 38-point lead. Courtney Jones made the most of her opportunities in the forward line, kicking her second after a courageous attack on the footy before snapping truly to end her night with three of the team’s four goals. However, it was a case of too much being left to too few, as the Lions emerged with a 35-point win.
Three things we learned
1. She was made to wait for her opportunity at the elite level, but Courtney Jones is making up for lost time in the Navy Blue. Once again amongst the goals, Jones finished with three of Carlton’s four goals: two of those came from opportunistic snaps, while the other purely from her attack on the footy. On a disappointing night at Metricon Stadium, Jones was a bright spark.
2. The Game Changers needed more contributors across the board on Saturday night. After emerging from the Cattery with a hard-fought win, the Blues were unable to capitalise on early opportunities and were then beaten by the Lions in all three areas of the ground. If they’re to bounce back, they’ll need a bigger and better spread, after further strong showings from Kerryn Harrington, Brea Moody and Maddy Prespakis.
3. Speaking of Moody, the All-Australian ruck continued to add strings to her bow. With the absence of Jess Good, who was a late exclusion on Tuesday morning due to AFL Health and Safety Protocols, it wasn’t the ruck dominance we’ve come to expect from Moody. Rather, she showcased her athleticism around the ground, providing a marking option coming out of defensive 50, recording 531 metres gained and four of eight score involvements.
Best: M. Preskapis, B. Moody, C. Jones, K. Harrington, V. Laloifi.
|B:||9 Kerryn Harrington (c)||11 Annie Lee|
|HB:||12 Lauren Brazzale||23 Daisy Walker||2 Jess Dal Pos|
|C:||3 Darcy Vescio||4 Madison Prespakis||19 Georgia Gee|
|HF:||32 Natalie Plane||26 Paige Trudgeon||21 Nicola Stevens|
|F:||22 Courtney Jones||18 Maddy Guerin|
|Ruck:||16 Breann Moody||46 Elise O'Dea||13 Lucy McEvoy|
|Interchange:||8 Vaomua Laloifi||7 Brooke Walker||5 Abbie McKay|
|25 Keeley Sherar||24 Brooke Vickers|
|Emg:||17 Charlotte Hammans||35 Poppy Schapp|
In: Keeley Sherar, Brooke Vickers
Out: Gab Pound, Jess Good (both out due to AFL Health and Safety Protocols).
Note; both of the outs were late changes due to AFL Health and Safety Protocols.
MilestonesDebut: Keeley Sherar, Brooke Vickers.
AFLW Coaches Votes10 - Emily Bates (BL)
7 - Orla O'Dwyer (BL)
7 - Natalie Grider (BL)
2 - Jade Ellenger (BL)
2 - Greta Bodey (BL)
2 - Zimmorlei Farquharson (BL)
AFLW Team of the WeekMidfielders: Breann Moody
Interchange: Kerryn Harrington, Madison Prespakis
AFLW Best and Fairest Votes3. - Orla O'Dwyer (Bris)
2. - Breann Moody (Carl)
1. - Emily Bates (Bris)