Bre Koenen looks dejected after Brisbane lost the NAB AFLW Season Seven Grand Final. Picture: AFL Photos

BRISBANE will rise to the occasion and play its best footy in Saturday night’s must-win match against competition leaders Melbourne, says captain Bre Koenen.

In a rematch of last year’s Grand Final, won famously by the Demons at the opening of Brighton Homes Arena, the Lions need victory to secure a coveted top four position.

A loss and they will be on sudden death throughout the finals series.

And despite losing to St Kilda last weekend, Koenen is as confident as ever her team will lift this weekend.

St Kilda players celebrate a win against Brisbane during round nine, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

“I still believe in this group and believe in what we can achieve,” she said.

“I think we definitely rise to the occasion, and we love competitive, contested footy.

“We’ve had a really tough year and been under pressure a lot, so I think come finals that’ll hold us in good stead.”

After losing just five games in the previous three seasons, Brisbane has been a little more vulnerable in 2023, losing games to the Saints, Collingwood and Richmond, who are all battling around the fringes of the eight.

However, with a sprinkling of new faces to complement their 2021 premiership core, the Lions have beaten Adelaide and North Melbourne and can make it a clean sweep against fellow top four teams with victory against Melbourne.

Koenen was full of praise for the Demons, saying her team had moved on from last year’s disappointment in the decider.

"They’re definitely up there," she said.

“You’d be crazy to think they’re not going to be tough and competitive come finals time.

“They didn’t lose too many (players) in the off-season and they’ve come back really strong this year and are playing good footy.

“They’re a really good running side, they rebound off half-back really well and they cover ground well.

“They’ve definitely got good players across the field we need to be aware of, but we just need to get back to the way we play.”

Brisbane will be bolstered by the return of Sophie Conway (hamstring) and Cathy Svarc (illness) after the duo missed last week’s match.