4 September, 2023

Oh yes! Grand final glory for Lions women

THE Moreton Bay Lions were crowned champions in the Queensland Football Association Women’s (QFAW) Div 1 seniors competition, after the Lions beat the Morningside Panthers by 14 points in the grand final at EK Anderson Oval last Saturday, September 2.

To the victors go the spoils…the Moreton Bay Lions rejoice after winning their Div 1 women’s AFL grand final against Morningside at Kedron last Saturday.
To the victors go the spoils…the Moreton Bay Lions rejoice after winning their Div 1 women’s AFL grand final against Morningside at Kedron last Saturday.

With the Panthers finishing on top of the ladder while the Lions were second, the intensity and tenacious spirit of both clubs didn’t disappoint.

The scoring pattern went back and forth while the lead changed repeatedly, before Moreton Bay triumphed 7.5.47 to 5.3.33.

The grand final started in a frenetic fashion, with the competition’s leading goal-kicker Ellen Hopkins landing the first major for Moreton Bay.

Not to be denied, Morningside answered shortly afterwards.

With only a solitary point splitting the teams at the quarter break, the Lions knew they had an epic encounter on their hands.

Moreton Bay continued to attack in the second term, and Kim Armstrong kicked what appeared a clever goal but the field umpire ruled that the ball was touched.

The controversial decision seemed to destabilise the Lions, as the Panthers started to gain control of the game.

Morningside landed two goals and one behind in the term, and subsequently took a handy 3.1.19 to 1.4.10 lead into the main break.

The Lions stayed on the field for the long break and had a confronting chat with coach Shane Dawes, who pointed out that they had started being second to the ball while the forwards were not playing in front.

Dawes told his charges that if they wanted this premiership they had to fight for it, otherwise it would be 2022 all over again when the Lions finished runners-up to Surfers Paradise.

The sting had the desired effect as Moreton Bay came out firing in the third term. Jess Davy dominated centre clearances, and 17-year-old Candice Daley was thrown into the midfield where she impressed with some inspiring passages of play.

The toughness of wings Jas Ryan, Taylor McCosker and Charis Tarr started to shine through as Hopkins, Davy and Daley scored a goal each for Moreton Bay while Morningside managed only a single major for the term.

The Lions took a 4.5.29 to 4.2.26 lead into the final quarter, with the game on a knife’s edge as both sides were determined to take home the silverware.

Moreton Bay’s coaching staff moved McCosker to centre half forward and usual midfielder Shauna Kelly to full forward. This combination worked well and paid immediate dividends as Kelly kicked two goals, including a brilliant snap across her body as she came under intense pressure from three defenders.

When Hopkins snagged her third major for the day, the Lions had one hand on the Cup but couldn’t afford to celebrate just yet.

To the Panthers’ credit, they fought back and kept coming. Their full forward Sherie Sayle kicked a late goal – her third of the day – to keep the Moreton Bay faithful at fever pitch.

In the frantic final minutes the Lions coaches threw everyone back in defence, including Hopkins, to stifle any chance of the Panthers stealing the game.

When the siren sounded, the Moreton Bay players were elated and relieved. From runners-up last year to premiers this year, the Lions proved to be the best team in the QFAW seniors Div 1 competition.

The Lions have submitted a case to the AFLQ for its women’s side to be granted a license to play in the higher QAFLW division in 2024.


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