Nat Grider greets fans after the AFLW R7 match between Brisbane and Gold Coast at Heritage Bank Stadium on October 14. 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

AS BRISBANE prepares to play at Ikon Park for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic, vice-captain Nat Grider has described the thought of quietening a pro-North Melbourne crowd as "exciting" ahead of Sunday's Grand Final.

The last time the Lions played at the venue was a semi-final loss to Carlton in March, 2020 – the same day the men's competition was suspended ahead of a nationwide lockdown.

But despite winning just once from five attempts at the ground, including the 2018 Grand Final loss to the Western Bulldogs, Grider said Brisbane thrived when travelling.

"We love travelling together as a group and going away is always a highlight for us," she said.

"Having that game away will help us gel together. 

"The idea that 80 per cent of the crowd there won't be cheering for us is almost exciting in a way, because you want to play your best footy and shut the crowd as quickly as possible."

Tahlia Hickie, Cathy Svarc, Ellie Hampson, Jade Ellenger and Natalie Grider celebrate after the preliminary final between Brisbane and Geelong at Brighton Homes Arena on November 25, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Even in a rollercoaster season, the Lions have performed strongly on the road, losing just once in six matches.

Their qualifying final win over Adelaide at Norwood Oval paved the way for a home preliminary final against Geelong.

Grider is one of 13 Lions who played in the club's only premiership, against the Crows in 2021, and said she remembered some sage advice from her junior days when entering the biggest game of the season.


"I remember back to my under-15 days, one of the leaders going into our first granny said: 'If you play every game like it's a Grand Final, you'll play your Grand Final like it's any other game'.

"I think that's stuck with me over the years because regardless of all the other external pressure it's just any other game of footy."

Star forward Dakota Davidson will be put through her paces at Brisbane's main training session on Thursday afternoon as she tries to overcome a knee injury ahead of facing the Kangaroos.