THE SVARC sisters have etched their names into history.
Brisbane duo Cathy and Ruby Svarc became just the second pair of sisters, after Adelaide duo Hannah Button (nee Martin) and Rachelle Martin, to win an AFLW premiership together when their side triumphed over North Melbourne by 17 points.
"It was pretty special to be out there playing with the girls," said Ruby.
"It feels amazing, we had the opportunity last year and to finish the way we did was really disappointing, but we made amends for it this season," said Cathy.
The sisters are two of five siblings who grew up on a 400-acre property in Corowa, just outside of Albury, and it was here where their competitive instincts started to develop.
"We come from a big family, and we lived out on a big farm," Cathy said.
"We've always been super competitive and loved to play all sorts of different games and sports.
"We always enjoyed having a competition and testing each other out."
Ruby said: "We always have been AFL fans since we can remember, we grew up watching it all the time, it was such a big part of our lives in Northeast Victoria.
"It wasn't until AFLW started that we thought it was maybe something we could try to pursue.
"We've always played competitive sport, we both always wanted to play elite sport in some form."
Older sister Cathy was drafted to the club in 2019 before Ruby joined her in Queensland prior to the 2021 season.
"We both started footy the same year and built our way through the pathways in the couple of years after that," said Cathy.
"It was pretty cool when Rubes came up to Brisbane and I love playing together."
Cathy was an integral part of the Lions' 2021 flag and has been one of Brisbane's most consistent performers for several seasons now, but it took Ruby a little bit longer to make her presence felt on the big stage.
Ruby won the AFLW Grand Final sprint in that 2021 season and while she was happy to play a part, she says nothing compares to tasting ultimate premiership glory alongside Cathy and their other teammates this year.
"It was special to be a part of that day and to feel like I was contributing to the club, but it doesn't even come close to this. Nothing compares to this," laughed Ruby.
After the Lions were pillaged by expansion clubs over the off-season, Ruby was one who looked likely to thrive with added opportunity and responsibility, but a serious calf injury back in round two threatened to derail her season.
"This season didn't go to plan for me, I had a really good pre-season and was hoping that this would be my best season yet," she said.
"It was pretty unfortunate, but I kept working hard and kept working through it and managed to get back in time for the pointy end of the season."
Ruby returned to the senior side in round 10 and her pressure and speed was crucial in the Lions' forward half.
"It was pretty challenging, we did it the right way in that I played a couple of practice matches before coming back into the senior side," she said.
"That really helped me to transition back into the team."
Cathy, now a 55-game veteran, suffered a knee injury early in the Grand Final and was unable to reach her usual output, but pushed through the pain to help her side to victory.
"The injury was a bit frustrating. It was pretty annoying in that first quarter to twist my knee," she said.
"We made it work as best we could, I still went out there and tried to impact the game as much as possible.
"I was just trying to play my role as best I could.
"It's always frustrating because I'm used to knowing what I can do, but I just tried to bring the pressure."
The Lions' game style is characterised by high intensity and elite pressure, and they laid 109 tackles to set a new AFLW tackling record.
"The game was so intense, until the last five or six minutes of the game where it opened up, both teams were fighting so hard, the pressure was huge," said Cathy.
"There's such a big build up, we tried to stay pretty level-headed throughout the week and focus all of our energy on the game."
Cathy will await scans for the severity of her knee issue but says the feeling of a second premiership medallion hanging around her neck will certainly ease the pain of any time on the sidelines.
"Hopefully it's nothing too serious, we've got a bit of time off now to recover, I'm feeling pretty good right now anyway," she said.