Brisbane have qualified for their third AFLW grand final with a tense four-point win over Collingwood in hot conditions at the Gabba.
The lead changed hands several times during Saturday’s hard-fought battle, but it was the resolute Lions who prevailed, winning 7.3 (45) to 6.5 (41).
The Magpies looked to be storming home after a strong third quarter, but final-term goals from Greta Bodey and Dakota Davidson were enough to secure the win for the home team.
A captivating battle between Brisbane’s Catherine Svarc (11 disposals, 8 tackles) and star Magpie Bri Davey (23 disposals) was a highlight, as was the forward presence of the Lions’ Davidson (3 goals).
Ally Anderson was also strong for the home team with 24 possessions, while Brittany Bonnici (18 disposals) battled well for the visitors.
The Magpies poured on the pressure early in the match, scoring the first two goals in the opening six minutes.
Jaimee Lambert hit the scoreboard first with a precision drop punt from tight in the forward pocket, before Ruby Schleicher marked a rushed Lions clearance about 40m out and kicked truly.
The home team hit the scoreboard against the run of play when livewire forward Jessica Wuetschner dribbled through a quick snap with the Lions first inside-50m of the match.
The Lions were lucky to be only eight points down at the first break but flicked the switch in the second quarter, increasing their tackling pressure and contested possession numbers to score four straight goals.
Davidson provided the spark, scoring two goals and marking strongly to complement goals from Bodey and Orla O’Dwyer.
A goal to Collingwood’s Tarni Brown stemmed the damage, limiting the home team’s lead to 10 points at halftime.
The momentum swung back to the Magpies in the third quarter as they scored two unanswered goals to take a two-point lead into the final quarter.
The Lions came back strongly, kicking two more goals in the final quarter before Collingwood brought the margin back to within a goal with less than a minute remaining in the last term thanks to a 45-metre bomb from Ashleigh Brazill.
But it was not enough to peg back the Lions, who will now face Adelaide – who earlier beat Melbourne by 18 points in the other preliminary final – in the grand final on Saturday April 17 at Adelaide Oval.