‘That was unreal, unbelievable feeling’: Dakota delivers as Lions surge home to kick clear of Kangaroos in decider

Wounded Brisbane forward Dakota Davidson kicked two last-quarter goals to help deliver the Lions a stunning 17-point AFLW grand final victory over North Melbourne.

After trailing by seven points at three-quarter time, the Lions were able to avenge last year’s defeat in the decider against Melbourne 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 a 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 Brisbane’s favour.

“That was unreal, wasn’t it?” Davidson told the Seven Network.

“That fightback from the girls in that last quarter. It’s unbelievable. Unbelievable feeling.

“The ball wasn’t near me in the first three-quarters. 

“(Lions coach) Craig (Starcevich) always says it’s all about moments, so I’m glad I took my two moments.”

Ellie Hampson’s second goal with three minutes remaining sealed the match, but Lions captain Bre Koenen added an exclamation mark with a major in the dying seconds.

Koenen was awarded the best-on-ground medal by recently-retired legend Erin Phillips after finishing with 19 possessions and 10 tackles.

The 28-year-old was part of an outstanding Lions defence, along with Nat Grider, and Shannon Campbell, that helped quell North’s midfield dominance.

Dakota Davidson celebrates with the premiership cup. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

North won the inside-50 count 34-21 and dominated clearances 41-25 but the Lions’ big game experience proved to be immense.

Brisbane kicked just three goals up to three-quarter-time but managed 4.0 and kept North goalless in the final 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.


— AFL Women’s (@aflwomens) December 3, 2023

North, playing in the club’s first grand final – men or women – since 1999, 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 North 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.

HEAR THAT PREMIERSHIP ROAR ????#FootyOhWhatAFeeling | #AFLWGF pic.twitter.com/PQDlvAvET2

— AFL Women’s (@aflwomens) December 3, 2023

The Lions hit the lead for the first time in the match four minutes into the third term through a classy Orla O’Dwyer snap.

But after North’s Kate Shierlaw converted her set shot after an inspirational grab, Garner burst from the centre clearance and Alice O’Loughlin slotted a goal to reduce the margin to seven points and put North in reach of their maiden AFLW premiership, before Brisbane’s title-securing last term

Koenen was awarded three votes by all five judges for the best-on-ground medal. Garner finished with nine votes.

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