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Match report: Lions remain unbeaten with gritty win

AFLW Highlights: Fremantle v Brisbane The Dockers and Lions clash in Round 2 of AFLW action
PERTH, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 12: Sabrina Frederick-Traub of the Lions contests a ruck with Gemma Houghton of the Dockers during the 2017 AFLW Round 02 match between the Fremantle Dockers and the Brisbane Lions at Fremantle Oval on February 12, 2017 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Carson/AFL Media)
Lion Sabrina Frederick-Traub displays her aerial dominance

THE BRISBANE Lions remain unbeaten in the NAB AFL Women's competition after notching a fiercely determined 13-point win over Fremantle on Sunday.

In front of a capacity crowd at Fremantle Oval, the visitors extended their lead at every change and had too much firepower for the Dockers, emerging 5.6 (36) to 3.5 (23) winners.

Full match coverage and stats

Led by strong-marking marquee player Tayla Harris (two goals), dangerous forward Jessica Wuetschner (two) and imposing tall Sabrina Frederick-Traub (one), the Lions came back from 10 points down in the second term to record their second victory.

The Lions are carving out a reputation as the AFLW's road warriors having overcome Melbourne in the wet at Casey Fields and now Fremantle in front of a vocal pro-Dockers crowd. 

Freo stepped up the intensity after last week's disappointing loss to the Western Bulldogs, but again struggled to apply enough scoreboard pressure.

The Dockers peppered the goals early in the final term but couldn't convert a major, before Harris took a towering pack mark and slotted the match-winner in the final minute.

The Lions remain firmly in Grand Final contention sitting in third spot – equal on points with top team Adelaide and Carlton – with a home game against cellar-dwellers Collingwood to come. 

The Dockers' second loss has them anchored to seventh on the ladder and facing a must-win clash against Greater Western Sydney next Saturday. 

 

FREMANTLE            1.1   3.1   3.2   3.5   (23)
BRISBANE LIONS   1.2   3.3   4.5   5.6   (36) 

GOALS

Fremantle: O'Sullivan, Bresland, Barr
Brisbane Lions: Wuetschner 2, Harris 2, Frederick-Traub 

BEST 
Fremantle: Hooker, Bentley, Filocamo, O'Sullivan, Donnellan, Bresland
Brisbane Lions: Harris, Frederick-Traub, Virgo, Wuetschner, Hunt, Bates 

INJURIES 

Fremantle: Green (shoulder), Mickle (knee)
Brisbane Lions: Randall (shoulder) 

Reports: Nil 

Umpires: TBC

Official crowd: 10,000 at Fremantle Oval

Marquee magic
Young gun Tayla Harris entered the AFL Women's competition as one of the emerging stars, and the Lions' marquee player made her presence felt late in Sunday's clash. With the Dockers pressing hard, the Lions needed a match-winner and Harris stood up with a huge pack mark before slotting the game-sealing set shot from 40m out. It was the type of moment any key forward would be immensely proud of.

 

Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater …
Freo might have slumped to its second-straight loss and only kicked four goals in the competition so far, but there was improvement from Michelle Cowan's team. After being smashed in the clearances and inside 50s by the Western Bulldogs, the Dockers were tougher in the contest and had their share of ball in attack. Freo's problem is finding a route to goal but that should become easier the more the side gels together.

The game-changer
The Lions have got a beauty in Sabrina Frederick-Traub - an imposing ruck who follows up at ground level and can then go forward to provide a strong aerial presence. The English-born marquee was integral to the visitors stemming the flow when the Dockers got a three-goal run on either side of quarter-time, snapping a clever major off a step from 35m to inspire the Lions' fightback. She finished with nine disposals, nine hit-outs and 1.1 in an influential performance.

 

From the losers' rooms
The Dockers have some injury problems. Brianna Green (left shoulder) was sent for scans on Sunday, while Rio Olympics javelin thrower Kim Mickle didn't play the second half against the Lions after missing the Dockers' opening game due to a sore hip. With small squads, two players down so early in the AFLW season would be a huge blow.

Say what?
"It's not ideal (to start the season 0-2) but I just want to say how good was that crowd? 10,000 people here. Certainly not the result we wanted, but a fantastic turnout by the WA football community." – Fremantle coach Michelle Cowan 

"It's funny when we first looked at the draw the boys in the coaching squad all took a bit of a gasp. The girls looked at it and thought four chances to travel interstate, new competition, fantastic. To actually have two on the road, galvanise your team with a couple of wins is great impetus for the rest of the comp. - Brisbane Lions coach Craig Starcevich

What’s next?
The Lions will get their chance to play in front of their own supporters when they host bottom-placed Collingwood next Saturday, while the Dockers hit the road for a crucial clash against Greater Western Sydney in Blacktown.

The Lions celebrate their win over the Dockers. Picture: AFL Photos