The Brisbane Lions have sent a warning shot to the rest of the competition after a strong 15-point win over Narrm at Casey Fields.
It was Narrm that had all the momentum in the first quarter, kicking the first three goals of the match through Kate Hore, with the Demons maintaining possession for most of that opening quarter.
Although once the Lions got going, it was hard to put a stop to. Despite not hitting the scoreboard, the Lions pressure kept the ball locked inside attacking fifty. They kept the Demons scoreless in the second quarter.
Speaking exclusively to The Inner Sanctum, Lions forward Jesse Wardlaw said it was a real team effort from her side.
“We’ve always just got such a great team that everyone’s contribution matters,” Wardlaw told The Inner Sanctum.
“There’s no one in our team that stands out and has a lot of pressure on them to perform. It’s always been a team effort for us.
“If someone’s off or not getting in the game, we know we’ve got other players to help get in the game. I think we just want to continue that moving forward.”
The Lions went into extra gear in that final quarter, running over the top of the Demons with three last quarter goals. The message from coach Craig Starcevich was to keep applying that pressure.
“It was nothing pretty, it was obviously wet so we just wanted to get the ball moving forward and I think we did that,” the coach said post-game.
“If they got their hands on the ball [the message] was just to apply pressure. Once we got into the forward line I think we were just using each other to make sure we could get on the scoreboard and get the lead on them.”
The Lions did plenty of work over the pre-season to make sure they were able to run over the top of teams in games, which is exactly what happened in the final quarter.
“I think whenever we have tough games or it’s not going our way, we just go back to the work we’ve put in in pre-season,” Starcevich continued.
“Knowing that we’ve put in so much hard work just really gives us confidence going into last quarters.
“Especially if we’re down we know that fitness isn’t going to be an issue for us, It’s really just heart and effort.”
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Brisbane was relentless with its pressure for most of the match, shutting down any chains of play Narrm was able to put together.
“We always want to build on our pressure, something that we always focus on, but in previous games we know Melbourne had started off really strong with their pressure,” Starcevich said.
“We knew that if we got on top of them that the goals would come.”
Wardlaw added two goals to her name, and while she was happy to kick them herself, she said that it was great to see her teammates getting involved.
“Pretty good to keep getting on the scoreboard, just playing deep forward so just getting on the end of them is really nice,” she said.
“It’s really cool to see a whole chain of people getting involved in the scoring. I just got to the end of it, which is good.”
Dees coach Mick Stinear said that despite a strong start, his side was outworked by a strong Lions side. The Demons took plenty away from the top of the table clash.
“Brisbane are a good side,” Stinear said post match.
“They outworked us today so [they] totally deserved the win. We felt like we got a good start, after that I feel like they adjusted to the game really well and sort of got their contest game going, their pressure game going.
“There were two quarters where I sort of felt like they were on our terms or close to two quarters and then they easily had two and a bit more quarters that were very much on their terms.
“Second quarter they probably didn’t get reward for effort in front of goal, so at half time we were still right in there and had a good third quarter. But that last quarter, they just outworked us and credit to them, they’re a really good side and we’ll learn a lot from today.”
Brisbane will take on Richmond next Saturday at the Swinburne Centre, while Narrm will take on Carlton at Ikon Park on Friday night.
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