AFLW Grand Final: Lions out for revenge after 2017 loss

These are the eight Lions players who are out for revenge against an Adelaide club that broke their hearts in the 2017 AFLW Grand Final.

Sharni Webb, Shannon Campbell, Kate Lutkins, Emma Zielke, Ally Anderson, Jess Wuetschner, Bree Koenen, and Emily Bates are the remaining members from Brisbane‘s historic 2017 Grand Final team, who were beaten by the Crows by just one goal at Metricon Stadium.

Sharni Webb, Shannon Campbell, Kate Lutkins, Emma Zielke, Ally Anderson, Jess Wuetschner, Bre Koenen, and Emily Bates. Picture: Josh WoningSource:News Corp Australia

Now both clubs are once again battling it out for the premiership decider, this time on the Crows home turf at Adelaide Oval.

Brisbane‘s captain Zielke said the hurt from the 2017 loss was still there but the club hadn’t really spoken about the past match in the lead-up to Saturday’s clash.

“The biggest memory is just of running out with the girls and hearing that roar from the crowd,” Zielke said.

“That was the biggest crowd we’d ever played in front of.

“But the memory of seeing the girls after the game doesn’t leave the memory bank either.

“It’s always going to be painful missing out on a premiership by one goal.

“The hurt is still there, no doubt about it but we haven’t spoken about it to be honest.

“I’m sure it plays on all eight of our minds but nothing’s been mentioned.”

Zielke paid special mention to the eight originals and their commitment to the team but also praised the club‘s youngsters for steering the Lions to their third grand final appearance in club history.

Brisbane Lions gun Ally Anderson. Picture: Lachie MillardSource:News Corp Australia

“(The original eight) are the backbone of our team,” she said.

“They’re the ones who have shaped the culture in this team and set the standards every year.

“Having them for the last five years, we’ve all leant on each other and it’s going to be great to have their experience on the field.

“We’ve had a whole team leave us with expansion and that was always going to be a factor but the development of our under 22’s has been so good this year.

“They’re just so hard working and so eager to be the best players they can be.

“We’re reaping the rewards from their own personal commitment to the team.

“They’re a huge reason why we’re here on the weekend.”

COVID curse strengthens Lions

Brisbane coach Craig Starcevich believes this year’s COVID hurdles have strengthened his playing group to be able to handle their biggest challenge yet.

The Lions are hunting their first ever premiership win when they come up against Adelaide in what will be their third AFLW grand final appearance in five years.

A large crowd is expected to fill up the iconic Oval, with 22,100 tickets having already been sold by 2pm Friday afternoon and more likely to head along on Saturday.

Brisbane managed to finish second after the regular season in a year which was still feeling the effects of COVID, lockdowns and closed borders.

Emma Zielke, Craig Starcevich, Matthew Clarke and Angela Foley with the cup. Picture: Mark Brake/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Despite having to travel down to Adelaide for the premiership decider, Starcevich was confident his playing group would be able to handle the challenge on Saturday.

“Our group is happy rising to most challenges put in front of them,” Starcevich said.

“They’ve got great character, great work ethic and shown heaps of resilience this year with some of the travel issues that we’ve had along the way.

“You look back over your season and the group and think ‘have they got the resilience to cope with the big match’, and they haven’t let us down so far.

“There’s some good signs there from that point of view.”

The last time the two clubs met was in Round 4 earlier this year when Adelaide star Erin Phillips put on a masterclass to steer the Crows to a win and hand Brisbane their first defeat of the season.

Despite the loss, Starcevich labelled that loss as the turning point which has catapulted them into this year’s AFLW Grand Final.

“It was terrific timing actually because we’d gone the first three rounds with teams who weren’t going to be qualifiers later on,” he said.

“Once we got going we were OK.

“They sort of did us a favour in a round about way because from that point onwards we came up against contenders most weeks and we were pretty good.

“Once we worked out what their tempo was and what level of competitive spirit we needed, we were okay, which gives us a bit of confidence.

“That was a turning point in Round 4.”

Originally published asLions out for ultimate grand final revenge

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