Brisbane made the grand final in both 2017 and 2018 but they will need to rely on other results to even be a chance of progressing to another decider. Craig Starcevich’s women have been way too inconsistent this season to contend, letting Sunday’s game slip in the third quarter as the Blues kicked three goals to one to establish a 16-point lead at the final change.
Rubbing it in
It’s been a mixed season for Carlton star Tayla Harris, but the former Lion saved some of her best for the clash with her former club. The forward was dangerous in the air, kicking two goals to help sink the Lions, who certainly could’ve done with her on their side.
It wasn’t a one-woman show though. This was a solid all-round performance. Madison Prespakis continued her outstanding debut season by accumulating 27 disposals, Tilly Lucas-Rodd was influential after being recalled, while former Australian Rugby Sevens teammates Chloe Dalton and Brooke Walker were both very busy, even combining for a third quarter goal.
In the wars
Kate McCarthy kicked an early goal but it was still a day to forget for the Lions speedster. Deep into the third term McCarthy was on the wrong end of an ugly collision with Blue Jess Hosking. The Lion lay on the ground for an extended period, receiving medical attention. It soon became clear that blood was streaming for her nose, although she courageously returned to the field after being taped up.
Queensland teenager Jade Ellenger was described as a midfielder/defender by the Lions when they signed her as a rookie in October. But it was up forward that the debutant made an impact on Sunday. Ellenger kicked a major early with a nice finish on the run, before benefitting from a 50-metre penalty to kick another during the third term.
At least one, and possibly both of these sides will qualify for the preliminary finals, which are less than a fortnight away. But if the first half of this clash was anything to go by, neither will make much of a dent once they get there.
This game had been billed as match of a couple of the better sides in Conference B, but that is damning them with faint praise. Compared to the brilliant contest the night before at Marvel Stadium – which was admittedly played in helpfully sterile conditions under the Docklands roof – this was an at-times sloppy affair. The gulf in the best and worst of the women’s game is still sizeable. To be fair though, things picked up in the second half.
1.2 2.5 5.6 6.7 (43)
2.0 2.2 3.2 4.3 (27)
GOALS: Carlton – Walker 2, Harris 2, Vescio, Lucas-Rodd.
Brisbane Lions – Ellenger 2, Wuetschner, McCarthy.
CROWD: 2900 at Ikon Park.
Daniel is an Age sports reporter.