13/04/2024

Jesse Wardlaw (left) is spearheading a dominant Lions attack. (Photo: AFL)

After three big wins to start their season, the Brisbane Lions have announced to the AFLW why they are the team to beat.

The Lions have been the competition’s best attacking side across the first third of the season, sitting atop the ladder with an average winning margin of 56 points.

It was a team effort again on Saturday against the Suns, applying the pressure in the forward line, shutting down the opposition midfielders and not allowing any easy space in their defensive half.

Both teams had an even 10 minutes into the match, before the Lions set the tone with the opening three goals of the game. They broke open the match from there, scoring another three goals in the second quarter, keeping the Suns scoreless for the first half.

Key to this attacking success has been both the midfield, who have excelled at pressuring even when they lose the clearance, and the forward line, who have been converting excellently.

Lions coach Craig Starcevich spoke post-game the first half that set up the victory, the scoring power within the team and how important the next few weeks will be.

“We’ve got some standards we need to uphold. Our pressure was super, that’s the foundation of what we do. I was very pleased with the energy and the application of the pressure we applied,” he said.

“It’s going to be important over the next month because we’ve got some big challenges coming up starting next week. We need to make sure our habits are in good order, getting ready for the games coming up.

“Our form generally has been good enough, particularly offensively and defensively to challenge anyone in the competition. I’m really happy that the pressure around the ball was strong enough to keep us in games and give us a chance when we go forward.

“Ally [Anderson] was busy, Cath [Svarc] was busy. With Batsey [Emily Bates], what you get from her is the offence and defence and she had some ridiculous high tackle rates, 11 tackles, 21 disposals. She’s contributing both ways and her work rate is quite phenomenal.”

Bates was awarded the QMedal as the best on ground, also passing the 1000 disposal milestone.

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Jesse Wardlaw and Greta Bodey have been two of the largest contributors to the Lions’ massive scoring, sitting equal second on the goalkicking tally with seven each.

The combined pressure of the midfield group, however, is what has given them the opportunity in the first place.

Despite winning the disposal count by 59, the Lions also demolished the Suns in tackles by 35, including being plus eight in tackle inside 50.

Bates, Isabel Dawes, Svarc and Anderson all combined for 37 of those tackles between them.

It was a poor outing for the Suns after they responded last week against the Eagles, dropping another Q Clash by a big margin.

Whilst Gold Coast coach Cameron Joyce was disappointed with the sides result, being outclassed from start to finish, he expects his side to respond from this weeks game to next week’s game against St Kilda.

“As a group, we’re where we are at. We need to make inroads on those,” he said.

“We couldn’t get enough ascendancy inside 50. The positive is, we were able to get it in there but something we haven’t been able to do against those better sides.”

In Round 4, Brisbane faces Melbourne at Casey Fields, while Gold Coast plays St Kilda at Mackay’s Great Barrier Reef Arena.

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