Demons upset Lions to claim first premiership

Melbourne Demons players celebrate their historic  AFLW grand final victory over Brisbane Lions in Ipswich.

Melbourne Demons players celebrate their historic AFLW grand final victory over Brisbane Lions in Ipswich. Photo: Getty

Melbourne has claimed its first AFLW premiership, upsetting the Brisbane Lions by four points in a tense and low-scoring grand final.

In front of a packed crowd of 7412 at the Lions’ new Michael Voss Oval, the Demons kept the hosts’ goalless after quarter-time to prevail 2.7 (19) to 2.3 (15).

In what will likely be a fairytale send-off for captain and women’s football pioneer Daisy Pearce, the Demons thwarted numerous attempts from the Lions to reclaim the lead in a frantic last quarter.

Brisbane failed to score in the final term as Melbourne’s defence stood tall and denied the Lions a second flag.

Melbourne’s Casey Sherriff competes for a mark under heavy pressure from the Lions’ defence. Photo: Getty

“To do it here, to have to come up here to Brisbane and wear the disappointment of that, it lasted about a nanosecond amongst this group,” Pearce told the Seven Network about her side’s failure to secure the minor premiership by the narrowest of maergins.

“It was like we don’t care where we’re playing, we’re playing in a grand final and we’re going up there to win – and they invited the wrong team to their house-warming.”

Pearce stays silent on future

However, Pearce would not be drawn on her future plans, but the expectation is she will retire.

“I’ve felt uncomfortable the whole time, the narrative, it being about me, I feel like that’s a glorified thing that happens outside of these four walls,” Pearce said.

Electric forward Dakota Davidson got the Lions off to the perfect start when she converted a set shot eight minutes into the game.

Cathy Svarc doubled the Lions’ score just minutes later, making no mistake with a shot from 30m out.

Demons forward Tayla Harris can’t contain her excitement after kicking a goal. Photo: Getty

But the Demons controlled the match after that, slowly working their way back into the contest before taking the lead six minutes into the third quarter.

Tayla Harris, who played the inaugural AFLW season with the Lions, stepped up in her fourth grand final appearance.

She kicked a vital goal in the third quarter after marking in the Demons’ goal-square.

Eliza West and dual All-Australian Olivia Purcell were tremendous for the Demons, while Blaithin Mackin kicked Melbourne’s only other goal.

Lions captain Breanna Koenen went down with a knee injury in the second quarter but returned to the field after halftime to play on through significant pain.

Fantastic run-down tackle

Lions speedster Nat Grider evoked memories of Collingwood’s Heath Shaw in the 2010 men’s grand final when she produced a diving run-down tackle on Megan Fitzsimon to stop the Demons from scoring their first goal late in the opening term.

In an outstanding defensive display, Lions brickwall Shannon Campbell was brilliant and single-handledly prevented Melbourne from scoring more.

Campbell was awarded the best-on-ground medal, collecting an equal game-high 19 possessions and grabbing eight marks.


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