Having finally claimed their maiden premiership in 2021, the pressure is on for the Brisbane Lions to solidify their position at the very top of the AFLW.
The Lions’ 2021 season was a monumental success. They entered finals second on the ladder, only behind Adelaide on percentage. While they had some shining moments throughout the home and away season, they stepped up when it mattered during finals.
After a thrilling four point victory against Collingwood in a preliminary final, they entered a Grand Final at Adelaide Oval in front of 22,934 fans as underdogs. Despite this, it was third time lucky as they defeated the Crows by three goals and claimed their first ever AFLW flag.
What to look forward to:
It will be an exciting and testing year for the Lions, as they attempt to defend their 2021 season. Following up their upset Grand Final win over Adelaide will be a new and unique challenge for this squad.
It will be exciting to see how the newly crowned premiers will deal with the pressure of being on the top. They will have a target on their back throughout 2022 as they become the team to beat.
Brisbane will enter every round high on confidence that can beat anyone, but they also have a plethora of draftees, new recruits and returning players that will hopefully keep their side fresh in the new season.
“Prodigious talent” Zimmorlei Farquharson didn’t get a chance to debut in 2021 due to various injury issues, and should be one to look out for from the younger crop.
Luka Yoshida-Martin showed off what she can in front of goals in the practice match romping of Gold Coast, kicking her first goal for the club and putting her hand up for a Round 1 debut.Embed from Getty Images
The prospect that there is still another young crop behind an already established premiership side should keep both fans and coach Craig Starcevich alike happy.
Biggest unanswered question:
Brisbane has seen multiple retirees at the conclusion of 2021, most notably captain Emma Zielke stepping aside, with Breanna Keonen taking her place in 2022.
Koenen makes the step up from the vice-captain position. Following this, almost all of Brisbane’s leadership group has been adjusted for 2022, with newly appointed leaders Ally Anderson, Sophie Conway, Nat Grider and Cathy Svarc.
In response to its retiring players, Brisbane have elected to focus on using the draft to reload, promoting young Queensland talent from the QAFLW.
Despite the core side of the 2021 success still being mostly in tact, the Lions will face a tough challenge adjusting their side and finding roles for fresh faces should the need arise.
More AFLW News
It’s a big year for…
The 2022 Brisbane draftees will have to prove themselves against the best to secure their spot. The new Lions class this year includes Maggie Harmer, Mikayla Pauga, Lucinda Pullar, Bella Smith and Luka Yoshida-Martin.
But its delisted Tiger Phoebe Monahan will may face the toughest challenge of all, as she will have to attempt to force her way into a highly competitive back line.
The retirement of Zielke comes at her favour, with a spot available for the taking. If she can prove that she is an AFLW level rebounding defender, she can lock it down early in the season.
She’ll have the returning Sharni Webb, Harmer, and Pullar biting at her angles, but competition for spots can only be a healthy thing.
Brisbane will start its premiership defence with a Grand Final rematch against Adelaide in Round 1.
The club will hope to redeem its only two home and away losses against both Melbourne and Adelaide in 2021 season. The latter match against Adelaide will make for its toughest road trip of the season.
It was announced that the Lions will be hosting all of their home games up on the Sunshine Coast, at Maroochydore Oval. It’ll be a familiar stomping ground for the QAFLW players of the list, home of the Maroochydore Roos.
Gold Coast will host this year’s QClash at Round 4, with the Lions heading down to Metricon Stadium.
R1: vs. Adelaide, Jan 9 (Flinders University Stadium)
R2 vs. Carlton, Jan 15 (Maroochydore)
R3 vs. Gold Coast, Jan 22 (Metricon Stadium)
R4 vs. Geelong, Jan 29 (Maroochydore)
R5 vs. Collingwood, Feb 5 (Maroochydore)
R6 vs. St Kilda, Feb 11 (TBC)
R7 vs. Melbourne, Feb 20 (Maroochydore)
R8 vs. West Coast, Feb 26 (Mineral Resources Park)
R9 vs. North Melbourne, TBC (Maroochydore)
R10 vs. Richmond, TBC (Swinburne Centre)
Ins: Phoebe Monahan (Richmond), Maggie Harmer (Maroochydore), Mikayla Pauga (Maroochydore), Lucinda Pullar (Bond Uni), Bella Smith (Bond Uni), Luka Yoshida-Martin (University of Queensland)
Outs: Lauren Arnell, Jessy Keeffe, Rheanne Lugg, Emma Zielke (retired), Beth Pinchin, Selina Priest, Jordan Zanchetta (delisted)
Round 1 line-up:
Despite some changes to their list, there can be no doubt that the Lions will enter the 2022 season with the sole focus of going back-to-back. They will have the confidence that they can win games week in and week out.
The Lions have struggled to discover their identity throughout the last five years, but after finally securing that elusive premiership, it may just be the spark that will ignite a winning mentality and tradition in the club.
Despite the level of success that they attain, 2022 will be a defining year for the Brisbane Lions. For the players and coaching staff however, only a second premiership will make it a success.
Subscribe to our newsletter!