Dees denied: Lions roar to topple ladder-leading Melbourne as Adelaide claims AFLW minor premiership

Brisbane have pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the AFLW season, handing defending premiers Melbourne a 25-point loss to seal a top-four spot.

Brisbane have toppled AFLW heavyweights Melbourne by 25 points to clinch a double chance in the finals, denying the Demons the minor premiership in the process.

A year after Melbourne walked away with the premiership flag, the Lions avenged their upset grand final loss by besting the defending premiers 8.5 (53) to 4.4 (28) at Brighton Homes Arena on Saturday.

Having been at risk of slipping from the top four after a 21-point loss to St Kilda, Brisbane have finished fourth to avoid a sudden-death elimination final and celebrate coach Craig Starcevich’s 75th game in style.

“When they’re disappointed after not performing at their peak, they generally respond pretty well,” Starcevich said.

“There were some things they wanted to atone for, they’re a good group like that.

“They actually do circle the wagons and say ‘right, it’s us against the world’ and away we go.”

Meanwhile, Melbourne have ceded the minor premiership to Adelaide and dropped to second spot.

The Lions put on a show across the park, with powerhouse duo Ally Anderson (22 disposals) and Jade Ellenger (22) going to work in the midfield while Dakota Davidson (two goals) led the charge in the forward line.

Captain Bre Koenen was superb in defence as she played on Melbourne’s leader Kate Hore, collecting a game-high 12 intercept possessions and limiting the prolific goalkicker to just one goal.


Anyone a lip-reader? ????#AFLWLionsDees

— 7AFL (@7AFL) November 4, 2023

Brisbane got the game on their terms early with five repeat entries into the attacking 50m in the opening 10 minutes of the game.

Davidson and Ellie Hampson drew first blood before Casey Sherriff kicked Melbourne’s opening goal.

Tayla Harris, Tyla Hanks and Hore slotted a goal each in the second term to put their side ahead.

But Davidson spoiled the Demons’ party with her second major, creating a two-point lead at halftime.

Crumbling under the Brisbane attack, the visitors conceded four unanswered goals from Taylor Smith, Sophie Conway (two goals) and Ruby Svarc while remaining goalless in the third term.

Ruby Svarc’s first kick since round two.

Handy timing ????#AFLWPride | #AFLWLionsDees

— AFL Women’s (@aflwomens) November 4, 2023

With both sides unable to slot another goal in the final quarter, the Lions went home with the four points.

Midfield stars Olivia Purcell (14 contested possessions) and Tyla Hanks (11) showed their mettle as they attempted to drag their side over the line, but the Demons were outclassed and sorely missing Paxy Paxman (hamstring).

Melbourne could be without Maeve Chaplin in their finals campaign, after the defender sustained a concussion in the third term.

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