2021-22 AFLW early look: Brisbane

IN an early look at the upcoming AFL Women’s 2021-22 season, Draft Central checks out each of the 14 clubs over the next three weeks ahead of preseason commencing. Next up is Brisbane, the reigning premiers who took everyone by storm in one of the fastest rebuilds ever recorded.

LAST SEASON:

Position: 2nd (Premiers)
Wins: 7
Losses: 2
Draws: 0
Points For: 390 (3rd)
Points Against: 200 (2nd)

Brisbane was finally able to taste premiership glory after near misses to both Adelaide and the Western Bulldogs in the opening couple of seasons, exacting revenge on the Crows to win their inaugural women’s premiership and send off captain Emma Zielke in style. The Lions only just got over Collingwood in a thrilling preliminary final, but after having to build around a ton of talented kids and hard-working experienced talents following Gold Coast’s introduction a couple of seasons earlier, Brisbane was able to rapidly rebound and return to the promised land and snag that previously elusive flag.

OFF-SEASON:

Ins: Phoebe Monahan (Richmond), Maggie Harmer, Bella Smith (Maroochydore), Mikayla Pauga, Lucinda Pullar (Bond University), Luka Yoshida-Martin (University of Queensland)
Outs: Emma Zielke, Lauren Arnell, Jessy Keeffe, Rheanne Lugg (retired), Beth Pinchin, Selina Priest, Jordan Zanchetta (delisted)
Inactives: Lily Postlethwaite

The Lions will head into the 2021-22 AFL Women’s season even younger than their 2021 campaign with four retirements led by Zielke and another previous AFLW captain in Lauren Arnell. A total of seven players all departed the club in the off-season, opening the door for plenty of fresh faces, including Richmond’s Phoebe Monahan who should provide some additional run off half-back. A trio of Brisbane Lions Academy members in Maggie Harmer, Bella Smith and Mikayla Pauga should all add plenty of talent to the squad in each third of the ground, with Lucinda Pullar and Luka Yoshida-Martin showing great signs of development through the QAFL Women’s competition. Lily Postlethwaite will continue to recover from the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury she suffered during the 2021 season.

2021-22 TEAM LIST:

Ally Anderson
Emily Bates
Greta Bodey
Shannon Campbell
Gabby Collingwood
Sophie Conway
Dakota Davidson
Belle Dawes
Jade Ellenger
Zimmorlei Farquharson
Nat Grider
Maggie Harmer
Tahlia Hickie
Courtney Hodder
Breanna Koenen
Kate Lutkins
Maria Moloney
Phoebe Monahan
Orla O’Dwyer
Mikayla Pauga
Lucinda Pullar
Bella Smith
Taylor Smith
Cathy Svarc
Ruby Svarc
Indy Tahau
Jesse Wardlaw
Sharni Webb
Jess Wuetschner
Luka Yoshida-Martin

KEY QUESTIONS:

  • Can Brisbane go back-to-back?
  • Who will replace the experience left behind by the likes of Zielke and Arnell?
  • What roles will the Academy players fill at AFLW level and when will we see them appear for the first time?

PREDICTION:

Brisbane has always been one of the more exciting teams to watch, with reliable defenders, ball-winning midfielders and exciting forwards. With plenty of firepower inside 50 and depth enviable across the competition, the Lions will remain one of the favourites for the flag, even if their side might be a little different looking in 2021-22. Courtney Hodder winning Goal of the Year was the icing on the cake as one of many young guns who showed their rising improvement last season, and now those who missed out on a premiership medal will be hungry to get their chance.

Picture credit: AFL Photos

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