AFLW Round 4 – Brisbane v Fremantle: Lions Loom as Grand Final Favorites

Brisbane Lions v Fremantle Dockers

3.30pm, 24 Feb 2018
South Pine Sports Complex Brisbane

Danielle Spicer

 

This game began on a ground which had seen two months worth of rain in the previous two days. It was drenched, and the rain showed no signs of slowing up.

 

I knew we were in for a slog fest, but I had no idea how exciting this game was going to be.

 

Watching from my lounge room in Melbourne, I was quietly very happy that the weather was similar outside my window. It made me feel that little bit closer to the action.

 

I was disappointed to hear earlier that the electric Sophie Conway had been withdrawn from the match due to a knock on her shin during the previous game.

 

Shannon Campbell was also a late out after waking up sick, which saw Emma Pittman make her debut.

 

Bizarrely enough, the AFL had decided to enact the heat policy for this game, despite it being 10 degrees cooler than the round two game against the Bulldogs, extending the breaks to allow players more recovery time.

 

At the first siren, Tahlia Randall showed she was eager to maintain her outstanding form in the ruck (second in the league for hit outs), and carried it through all four quarters. It was clear early that the ball was going to be about as easy to mark as a full bottle of cordial.

 

Fremantle got the ball inside their forward half, and that was where it stayed until 3 minutes before the siren. Fortunately, the Brisbane defenders are the best in the business, and familiar faces in Kaslar, Hildebrand and Lutkins kept the Dockers to a single behind.

 

I sadly looked at my Nicole Hildebrand badge as I watched her getting knocked all over the place for a second week in a row, but the real teeth clenching came with 30 seconds till the siren when fan favourite Kate McCarthy got split down the middle in a tackle. She did get back up, eventually.

 

The second quarter started much better. Brisbane brought a renewed energy and enthusiasm, which saw them desperate to move the ball forward using any means possible.

 

With the ball being so greasy to pick up, kicking it off the deck became a more popular choice. From what I have seen in the local leagues, nine times out of ten the players will be pinged for kicking in danger anytime they kick the ball off the ground, so it isn’t usual.

 

I found myself having a giggle at the bodies flying everywhere. Fremantle weren’t taking their foot off the accelerator anytime soon, and it was hilarious the efforts the players were going to, to try and take possession.

 

Just as my fiancé commented ‘I am expecting there to be a stretcher today’, Hildebrand runs backwards under the flight of the ball, sending the Dockers Stacey Barr awkwardly rolling over her head, and taking a brief lie down before finishing the half on the bench.

 

Starting the third quarter, I was awash with excitement. I had enjoyed a couple of beers by then, my beloved Lions were up six points, and I was thoroughly entertained. I absolutely love wet weather footy when the level of intensity is so high, and the players are so determined.

 

A few minutes into the third, Brittany Gibson won the ball in congestion just inside the 50, spun around and slammed it on that monster boot of hers. Jess Wuetschner half entertained a foot race with the ball, but left the goal on Gibbo’s stat sheet.

 

Woosha had clearly forgotten about a 7-goal haul by the Western Bulldogs Brooke Lochland the night before, displacing her on top of the season goal kicking board.

 

The game seemed to slow down a little towards the end of the third, but the one thing that did not drop off was the desperation by the players. Nat Exon was ruthless in having her way, and around my lounge room we marvelled at how impressive her mullet looked in the wet.

 

Leading into the last quarter, the game wasn’t a runaway for the Lions, but it was obvious the Dockers were struggling to find that goal kicker that could break this one open. The Lions however converted early with the raging good form of Wuetschner getting me out of my seat, and excitedly trying to high five my unimpressed cat.

 

Kate Lutkins (who had been painful for Fremantle all game) absolutely refused to let the Dockers take any kind of clean possession in her presence, and backed up her efforts over and over again all game, receiving top votes from the coaches in the player of the week reviews.

 

The lions showed themselves to be a cohesive, and hungry unit all day, and at the final siren I let myself take a couple of minutes to dream about what it could all mean at the sharp end of the season. Only a couple of minutes though, losing the last game of last year still stings deeply.

 

However… with the additions of Nat Exon, Bella Ayres, Sophie Conway and Jordan Zanchetta, the riveting form of players like Lutkins, Bates, Wuetschner and Anderson, I say bring. It. On.

 

 

BRISBANE    0.0   1.1   2.2   3.4 (22)
FREMANTLE 
 0.1   0.2   1.3   2.3 (15)

GOALS
Brisbane Lions: 
Wuetschner 2, Gibson
Fremantle: Barr, Atkins 

BEST 
Brisbane Lions: 
Lutkins, Wuetschner, Stanton, Anderson, Exon
Fremantle: Filocamo, Donnellan, O’Sullivan, Antonio, Atkins 

INJURIES 
Brisbane Lions: 
Shannon Campbell (illness) replaced in selected side by Emma Pittman
Fremantle: Nil 

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Mirabile, Rowe, Howorth

Official crowd: 1500 (estimated) at South Pine Sports Complex (Brendale)

 

Tough contest. Brisbane defeated Fremantle by 7 points in their Round 4 clash.

Comments

  1. Jamie Simmons says:

    Hey there Danielle. Always happy to read pro-Lions commentary. I like that you felt connected given the inclement weather outside your window. It’s given me an idea about re-creating the conditions for whenever I’m watching from afar.
    If it rains tonight in Melbourne, I’ll be setting up a chair inside the shower.

  2. DanielleSpicer says:

    Hi Jamie. I am currently working in an office a 17 minute drive from where the game will be held tonight. Judging by the aggressive sun glare which is currently bouncing off of some low hanging clouds, I must recommend looking into some waterproof casing for your streaming device.
    Please keep an eye out for me tonight, I will be the crazed waterlogged supporter waving around my membership lanyard as though it gives me special entitlement to be obnoxiously loud. I very much look forward to scream-crying the team song through the monsoon like conditions, and will spare a thought for yourself, who Im sure will be doing the same thing in the confines of your bathroom.
    Such a connected world we live in.

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