<
>

AFLW Round Table: What was the moment of the AFLW Grand Final?

play
Why the AFL should have foreseen venue availability mess (1:45)

The ESPN Footy Podcast's Marissa Lordanic and Sarah Burt believe the AFL should have been better prepared for the AFLW Grand Final venue situation. (1:45)

Our AFLW experts tackle some of the burning questions following the AFLW Grand Final, including the moment of the game, who else could have nabbed best on ground honours, and way too early 2023 predictions.


What was the moment of the Grand Final?

Marissa Lordanic: The intersection of Blaithin Mackin's goal and Bre Koenen's knee injury was the deciding moment for me. The fact that they occurred in the same passage of play seemed to provide a perfect snapshot of both teams' fortunes for the rest of the game; Melbourne's being on the up, and Brisbane's in the opposite direction.

Sarah Burt: Blaithin Mackin booted her second ever goal in the AFLW, in front of family who had come from Ireland to be there. It was the turning point of the game that narrowed the margin to just three points and started the momentum which the Demons eventually won with. The Lions had an 11-point lead after the first quarter then Alyssa Bannan handballed to Blaithin Mackin who booted Melbourne's first goal for the day from 30 metres out.

Jesse Robinson: I thought the Grider tackle was going to be the moment for the Lions, but Bannan's quick hands to Mackin for the Demons first goal to capitalise on a period of Dees dominance really set the tone for the rest of the game, and it felt like they never really looked back from there.

Where did Brisbane lose the game?

ML: It's an intangible answer for me but across the season we've seen that the Lions haven't really had to grind out results. Their dominance this season has been such that they've usually been in the ascendency from the get go; their loss to Richmond and narrow win over the Kangas -- who were very inaccurate -- stand as the exceptions. The Dees had slightly more experience grinding and scrapping and it ultimately pushed them to hang on in what was a test of who could hold their nerve better in extremely intense circumstances.

SB: Essentially, it all has to come down to accuracy in front of the goals, otherwise Melbourne wouldn't have been higher on the scoreboard, but it is near impossible to separate these teams In the end, they'd lost Bree Koenen for a big portion of the game which made them miss her in defence, but it's a testament to their structure that they were able to realign and stay in the game. Essentially it came down to Melbourne having clean ball movement and nine more inside 50's giving them more chances- Dakota Davidson missing a goal was a missed opportunity but when you look at the statistics each team can barely be separated,, they each had 174 disposals, 118 kicks and 56 handballs, an identical scoresheet.

JR: In my opinion, they were too defensive. They have such quality across all lines, but threw players behind the ball once they got on top and then tried not to lose, rather than trying to win the game.

Who else could have been named BOG?

ML: Eliza West was the popular second choice for best on and I don't disagree with the assessment. I do agree with Jesse that Tahlia Gillard's work on Jesse Wardlaw was also worth some consideration. If we were awarding best on ground for the celebrations, I cannot go past the photo of Tayla Harris with the premiership cup on her head.

SB: Eliza West of Melbourne. She was instrumental with 19 touches, but most importantly six tackles. She was crucial to Melbourne's midfield and had some prolific moments for the winning team. She successfully absorbed a lot of the Lions' pressure.

JR: Tahlia Gillard for me, Jesse Wardlaw had the potential to break that game open and was kept very quiet by the young tall. The 18-year-old held the season's leading forward Jesse Wardlaw scoreless and to only three disposals, one mark and one score involvement, and in a game that was decided by less than one straight kick, I'd be giving her the medal.

Who is your way too early premier for next year and why?

ML: I didn't see Melbourne winning on the weekend so had them as my 2023 premiers after what would have been a tough 2022 had my tip come to fruition. Despite the first part of that prediction no longer holding true, I'm sticking by the Dees to be up there once again.

SB: Brisbane. They have what it takes -- we just need to see them with one more chance, and they'll be hungrier than ever now.

JR: The Lions won't take this loss lying down, they'll be back on top next year.