'She's the pinnacle': Lion's pride after shutting down Crows superstar

BREANNA Koenen is fast developing a reputation as one of the premier lockdown defenders in the NAB AFLW competition.

She shut down Chloe Molloy not once, but twice this year alone, and in Saturday's Grand Final was tasked with one of the most difficult roles going around: shutting down Erin Phillips.

2021 AFLW GRAND FINAL Full match coverage and stats

The Adelaide superstar came into the game with two best-on-ground medals from her two previous Grand Finals.

While she was carrying a sore knee late in the season, and had been spending much more time up forward than in the middle, it was vital Brisbane limited the amount of ball given to the Crow.

The W Show: Lions roar, captains curse, plus which goal was better?

13:11 Apr 18. 2021. 6:28 AM

Nat Edwards and Sarah Black dissect the 2021 AFLW Grand Final and interview several Brisbane premiership stars

The last time the two sides met, Phillips played some of her very best footy, booting four goals from 21 touches.

On Saturday, she recorded just eight disposals, one inside 50 and one behind.

Emily Bates was tasked with looking after Phillips when she started at centre bounces, passing over the responsibility to Koenen in defence.

"I often have a good match-up, so it's not like I haven't had a pretty tough match-up in the past, but Erin's probably the pinnacle of those," Koenen told womens.afl.

THIRD TIME LUCKY Lions nab first flag after epic decider

"To play pretty well on her and in a Grand Final is pretty special. I obviously had the help of all the midfield and 'Batesy' in particular, matching up on her through there so made it a bit easier."

It's jobs like these the Lions' vice-captain thrives upon.

"I think as a defender, that's sort of what we try to live for. I think it's pretty special to have the group I do around me, so it makes it all that much easier," Koenen said.

"I obviously revel in every one-on-one contest. There's going to be multiple throughout the day, so I think just being in the moment and taking each contest as it comes is key."

Breanna Koenen (R) and Lauren Arnell celebrate Brisbane's win over Adelaide in the 2021 AFLW Grand FInal. Picture: AFL Photos

Adelaide had an astonishing 44 inside 50s (compared to Brisbane's 24) for a paltry three goals, and the Lions' tight defence was magnificent despite being under pressure for vast portions of the game.

Koenen was a big reason behind that result, along with best-on-ground Kate Lutkins, Shannon Campbell, Emma Zielke and youngsters Nat Grider and Indy Tahau.

"We were under the pump for a fair majority of the game, and safe to say the stats show that even more so, but I think the confidence and experience we have in our backline helped us really well today," she said.

'THE DECISION WAS MADE FOR ME' Retiring premiership skipper gets fairytale finish

"When we got it forward and put the pressure on them in attack that was reward for effort so it's a pretty good feeling.

"Four of our 'OGs' (inaugural Lions) come from our backline, so to play with 'Zielks', Shannon and Lutkins and then have the likes of Nat Grider and Indy back there, and we were one short (when Zielke injured her hamstring,) even 'Jado' (Ellenger) got a run back there. 

"We've obviously got a pretty solid group and the amount of confidence that you get playing with those calibre of players is second to none."