A FAST-STARTING Brisbane has caused the season's first major shock, upsetting defending premier Adelaide by 13 points at Hickey Park.
The youthful Lions jumped the injury-riddled Crows, scooting to a 20-point lead shortly after quarter-time on the back of frenzied pressure and clever finishing around goal.
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In slippery conditions Brisbane ran out comfortable winners 5.4 (34) to 3.3 (21) despite a record-breaking 34 disposals by Crows midfielder Anne Hatchard.
Showcasing a vastly different team to the one that appeared in successive Grand Finals in 2017 and 2018, Brisbane's attack on the footy caught Adelaide off guard.
While experienced Lions Lauren Arnell (two goals), Kate Lutkins (15 disposals), Emily Bates (13), captain Emma Zielke (15) and Ally Anderson (16) were all solid contributors, it was the seven debutants that caught the eye.
Dakota Davidson was a powerful physical presence in the forward half, No.3 draft pick Lily Postlethwaite a terrier around the contest and Maria Moloney (12) a midfield workhorse.
Sophie Conway (12 touches and six tackles) was also instrumental in her first game back from a ruptured ACL.
Not surprisingly it was a debutant who got the scoring underway, with Greta Bodey kicking the game's opening goal, using skills from her soccer background to toe-poke accurately after a clever Jess Wuetschner tap-back.
Irish import Orla O'Dwyer then had the crowd of 3002 in raptures, kicking a goal with her first touch after playing on from a mark and cleverly snapping around her body with her left boot.
It was a long day for the Crows, who failed to take advantage of more ball (plus 33 disposals) and better territory (plus 13 inside-50s).
Aside from Hatchard's incredible game, Ebony Marinoff and Sarah Allan could also hold their heads high.
Brisbane's first ever Irish import Orla O'Dwyer had turned heads with an exceptional pre-season that included smashing the club's 2km time trial record. Given her chance first up, the Tipperary gaelic football and camogie star did not disappoint. After running hard into space in the forward 50, O'Dwyer got on the end of a perfectly weighted Jess Wuetchner pass, played on from her mark and joined the 'first kick, first goal' club by cleverly snapping around her body on the left boot.
She may have been on the losing team, but you can't go past Crow Anne Hatchard. It wasn't quite a lone midfield hand, but racking up a competition record 34 disposals was an incredible performance. The 21-year-old had 17 at half-time and did not slow down. "I guess it's pretty cool, coming from season one where I didn't really touch the ball much, getting a bit fitter and being able to run around the midfield is pretty cool, but in the end we did lose."
One to watch
This Lion didn't dominate on the stats sheet, but she had a huge impact in Brisbane's win. Powerful forward Dakota Davidson finished with eight disposals and two marks, but her physicality around the contest was worth so much more. Brisbane has lost marquee forwards Tayla Harris and Sabrina Frederick over the past two seasons, and although 21-year-old Davidson might not have the flair, her work-rate and brute strength bring an element that Lions fans and teammates will grow to love.
The first blow
After dominating the opening exchanges, Brisbane was looking to capitalise on its ascendency on the scoreboard. It looked like Wuetschner would open the scoring but she stumbled in the goalsquare before tapping it back in the direction of ex-soccer player Greta Bodey. Using instincts she honed in the round ball game, Bodey toed the ball off the ground between the big sticks for the game's first goal and the Lions were on their way.
"Adelaide have been a high scoring team for the last couple of years, last year in particular. They are down a bit personnel wise, but you can only play what’s out there. Happy that our crew were able to defend like that. Winning any game gives you some validation and a bit of reward for effort. Our defensive pressure early in the game was super." - Brisbane coach Craig Starcevich
"Overall, injuries had very little to do with that outcome. They just played a really good game, particularly played the conditions really well. We were second to the ball at times. All credit to Brisbane really." - Adelaide coach Matthew Clarke
The Lions will look to make it two-from-two when they head south next Sunday to take on Geelong at GMHBA Stadium at 1.10pm. Adelaide also has an eight-day break, hosting newcomers St Kilda at Richmond Oval on Sunday at 4.40pm.
FULL FIXTURE Every round, every game
BRISBANE 2.2 3.3 5.3 5.4 (34)
ADELAIDE 0.0 1.2 1.2 3.3 (21)
Brisbane: Arnell 2, Bodey, O'Dwyer, Wardlaw
Adelaide: Gum, Gore, Foley
Brisbane: Lutkins, Conway, Bates, Davidson, Svarc, Zielke
Adelaide: Hatchard, Allan, Cox, Marinoff, Rajicic
Crowd: 3002 at Hickey Park