15/04/2024

Emily Bates was influential in Brisbane's win over GWS. (Image: AFL)

The Brisbane Lions showed why they are well are truly in the premiership race after a brutal performance against the GWS Giants in Canberra.

Last year’s preliminary finalists delivered another devastating victory after knocking off the Dockers in their Round 1 clash. The competition’s highest scoring team, they’re well and truly in the form that saw them claim the 2021 premiership.

It wasn’t all smooth-sailing though, as the Lions were sent a scare early as the Giants kicked the opening two goals of the first term through Jessica Doyle and Haneen Zreika. Brisbane couldn’t find the response, as the visitors were held to just one point at the first change.

With Brisbane trailing by 11 points at quarter time, the Lions’ leaders began to flex their muscles and started responding to the early pressure from GWS.

It took just 32 seconds of the second term for Courtney Hodder to kick the Lions opener which was certainly a much needed lifter for Brisbane. From this, the flood gates just broke open for the Lions. Goals from Orla O’Dwyer and Jesse Wardlaw gave the Lions the lead at the seven minute mark.

Season six best and fairest winner Emily Bates spoke exclusively to The Inner Sanctum post-game, highlighting how after quarter time, the game was played back on their terms as they wrestled back control.

“I think we just needed a rev up, they brought the pressure early, which is our own game and it took us by surprise a little bit,” Bates said.

“I think it was a matter of doing a bit of body work, putting the pressure back on them, squeeze them under and owning the outside.

“Once we adjusted to that, the game opened up for us and we began scoring.”

Bates was a huge part of the scoring rush, kicking two goals in the third alone on her way to 20 disposals on the day.

It was the first time she’d kicked multiple goals in her match, hinting at a potential role change.

“There might be some time when I do float forward and it would be nice to kick a few goals,” she said.

“But I think for now I’ll be spending most of my time inside midfield.”

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Brisbane continued to dominate out of the centre circle and was efficient going forward, kicking four second quarter goals.

The defence was also rock solid for the Lions, with the likes of Natalie Grider and Shannon Campbell impossible to get past. The Giants were held scoreless in the second, with the away side taking a 16 point advantage into the main break.

In what was quickly becoming a tough day for the Giants, Alyce Parker certainly played her part. She kicked a goal to go along with 27 disposals and six tackles, as she looked to spark her side at various points in the afternoon.

Courtney Hodder, Bates and Cathy Svarc were tackling machines late in the day, combining for 22 of the 62 tackles laid by the Lions.

The fourth and final quarter was a continuation of the previous two as Brisbane showed no sign of slowing down. Jade Ellenger and Zimmorlei Farquharson kicked two in quick succession, extending the lead to eight goals early in the last.

The Giants finished the game strong on an entries perspective, but the Lions defence once again were as solid as ever, limiting the Giants to just three goals for the day.

Sitting solidly in third place with a match-up against state rival Gold Coast to come, it couldn’t be a better start to Brisbane’s season.

“You always want to start the season strong and off the back of a massive pre-season we know we can run out games,” Bates said.

“So to get those early wins is good but we know it’s going to be a hard fought season.

“Teams will find form later in the year, so we definitely aren’t resting on our laurels and there’s a few hard games to come.”

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