THE BRISBANE Lions took a major step towards hosting the inaugural NAB AFL Women's Grand Final when they beat previously undefeated Adelaide by three points in a thriller at Norwood Oval in Adelaide on Saturday night.
The Lions trailed the Crows by eight points at the long break but were inspired by a pair of superb third-term goals, the first to Kate McCarthy, and the second through Kate Lutkins.
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The Crows kept coming and regained the lead when Abbey Holmes goaled, and led by two points at the final change.
But the Lions' pace and slick ball movement through the middle of the ground continued to create chances.
Sabrina Frederick-Traub was a powerhouse in the ruck and through the middle of the ground, and McCarthy would kick a decisive snap goal as the Lions retook the lead early in the final term and hung on for a massive win.
The moment: Lions half-forward Kate McCarthy kicked one of the goals of the season when she picked the ball up 70m from goal and exploded away from traffic, bounced twice and then goaled from 30m at full pace.
The game changer: Adelaide had dominated the inside 50 count and looked hard to beat with the home crowd urging the Crows on entering the final term. But Kate McCarthy's snapped goal at the start of the last quarter gave the Lions the lead and the scoreboard pressure was telling in the final term, as the Crows rushed at times in search of a major.
The key: Sabrina Frederick-Traub was a towering presence in the ruck and also got involved in many attacking forays for the Lions. She finished with 15 disposals.
The ladder now: The Lions are now firmly in the box seat to not only play in the inaugural AFLW Grand Final but to host it, after improving their record to 5-0 and going a game clear at the top. The Crows remain in charge of their own destiny but have less room for error after blotting their copybook for the first time
"It was a scrap and, to be honest, our back six held up beautifully. They were under the pump there in that last quarter." - Lions coach Craig Starcevich
"I thought we were really good with our contested possession tonight. It was a real focus pre-game... what we weren't particularly good at tonight was our decision making under pressure." - Adelaide coach Bec Goddard
What's next: The Lions host the Western Bulldogs at South Pine Sports Complex and can strengthen their grip on top spot. Adelaide travels to Darwin to play the Demons at TIO Stadium.
BRISBANE 1.0 1.1 4.2 5.3 (33)
ADELAIDE 1.0 2.3 4.4 4.6 (30)
Brisbane: McCarthy 2, Bates, Lutkins, Zielke
Adelaide: Perkins 2, Riley, Holmes
Brisbane: Frederick-Traub, McCarthy, Hunt, Bates, Stanton
Adelaide: Phillips, Randall, Varnhagan, Marinoff, Foley, Perkins
Reports: Brittany Gibson (BL) for rough conduct
Umpires: Medlin, Bryce, Wachtel
Official crowd: 10,676