Jade Ellenger, Shannon Campbell and Poppy Boltz celebrate a goal during the preliminary final between Brisbane and Geelong at Brighton Homes Arena on November 25, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

SHANNON Campbell proved to be Brisbane's hometown hero after putting her side into a fifth NAB AFLW Grand Final with a four-point victory over a spirited Geelong on Saturday evening. 

But the Lions will be sweating on scans for star forward Dakota Davidson, who left the field in the third quarter with what appeared to be a serious knee injury.

LIONS v CATS Full match coverage and stats

In her absence, Campbell was thrown forward and ultimately kicked the final goal of the game to put Brisbane in front with five minutes to go.  

The 6.2 (38) to 5.4 (34) victory came after a persistent Geelong remained a threat until the last siren. 


The home side led for much of the game but found itself on the back foot early in the last quarter by way of an Aishling Moloney goal out the back.

Young gun Belle Dawes was immense through the middle for Brisbane, with 22 disposals, 13 tackles and nine clearances for the evening, while Orla O'Dwyer's aggressive run on the wing bore 21 disposals, 556 metres gained and a goal in an important performance. 

Brisbane's ability to defend the full width of the ground really hurt the Cats. There was no clear opportunity to switch the footy to the open side or pick off a neat kick into the corridor because the Lions were covering the ground too well. 


Cathy Svarc (12 disposals, 10 tackles), although not playing any specific tagging role, spent the evening causing havoc for Geelong's gun midfield trio of Amy McDonald, Nina Morrison and Georgie Prespakis. Her ability to quickly shut down space to apply pressure was getting under Geelong's skin, as she restricted clean breakaway from congestion.  

But it was when the Cats were able to find that small margin of space around the contest that they got on top. With Prespakis propelling the ball forward, Geelong was then able to put the Lions' defence under pressure, allowing Jackie Parry (two goals, seven disposals) to use her strength in front of goal. 


Prespakis (21 disposals, six clearances) worked her way into the game, while Morrison (nine clearances, 20 disposals) picked up where she left off last week. 

The sides traded goals throughout the second and third quarters. Geelong looked threatening throughout the third term, trapping Brisbane in its defensive pocket, but the visitors simply couldn't turn that into scoreboard pressure. 

Inaugural Cat Renee Garing bids goodbye to AFLW with the loss, having announced her retirement earlier this year. Garing played 33 games, returning this season after giving birth to her son last year. 

Pain for Daks 
Late in the third term as Brisbane spearhead Dakota Davidson was working to apply a strong tackle deep in attack, she unfortunately came off second best, injuring her left knee. Spending a lot of time on the deck before hobbling off with trainers, Davidson was distraught on the bench and ultimately ruled out for the remainder of the game. As Brisbane's leading goalkicker this season, and main target in attack, the club will be sweating on her availability for next week's Grand Final. 


Scheer's alright 
With an injury cloud coming into the game after fracturing her collarbone in Geelong's elimination final win over Essendon a fortnight ago, Chloe Scheer proved to the world that she was fully fit. Firstly by taking down Jen Dunne in a strong tackle to test out her collarbone, before dobbing a casual goal around the body from 45m the following quarter. 


Up next 
Brisbane will play its fifth Grand Final in eight AFLW seasons, continuing an impressive run of success. Where the game will be played is still unknown, depending on Sunday's match between North Melbourne and Adelaide. Should the Crows get up, the Lions will host a second consecutive Grand Final at their home of Brighton Homes Arena. For Geelong, it's season over, after its most successful campaign yet. 


BRISBANE                   2.1    4.2    5.2   6.2 (38) 
GEELONG                    0.1    3.3    4.4   5.4 (34) 

Brisbane: Davidson 2, Hodder, Mullins, O'Dwyer, Campbell,  
Geelong: Parry 2, Scheer, Scott, A.Moloney 

Brisbane: Anderson, O'Dwyer, Ellenger, Dawes, C.Svarc, Koenen 
Geelong: Prespakis, D.Moloney, Morrison, Kearns, Gunjaca 

Brisbane: Davidson (left knee) 
Geelong: Nil 

Crowd: 4,903 at Brighton Homes Arena