Cats heartbroken as Lions advance to fifth AFLW grand final in a thriller

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The Brisbane Lions are through to their fifth AFLW grand final after surviving a giant scare from Geelong to pip the Cats in a four-point thriller.

Heavy favourites to advance, the Lions had everything thrown at them in Saturday night’s preliminary final by the plucky Cats at their Springfield headquarters.

Jade Ellenger, Shannon Campbell and Poppy Boltz of the Lions celebrate during the win over the Cats.Credit: AFL Photos

But after losing the lead five minutes into the final term, the Lions reclaimed their advantage when star defender Shannon Campbell moved forward and kicked what would be the winning goal with six minutes remaining.

The Lions held on grimly in the dying stages to prevail 6.2 (38) to win 5.4 (34), setting up a meeting with the winner of Sunday’s clash between North Melbourne and Adelaide in the grand final.

They will get an opportunity to redeem themselves after losing last year’s decider to Melbourne during the Lions’ opening of their new Michael Voss Oval base.

The win looks to have come at a cost for the Lions, however, with the key forward Dakota Davidson appearing to suffer a suspected serious left knee injury in the dying stages of the third term.

Davidson, who booted two of the Lions’ goals, was inconsolable on the bench and will undergo scans to determine the damage.

The Lions will be forced to find alternate avenues to goal without Davidson if they are to win their second AFLW premiership, and first since 2021.

Courtney Hodder and Charlotte Mullins kicked early goals, while Orla O’Dwyer also slotted an important major for the Lions.

Lions hard nut Isabel Dawes put in a super third quarter to finish as the leading possession winner on the ground with 22 touches.

The result ends a brave run for Geelong, who fell agonisingly short of reaching the club’s first AFLW decider after upsetting reigning premiers Melbourne in last week’s semi-final.

The Cats have never won an AFLW post-season match until beating Essendon in an elimination final a fortnight ago.

Young midfield star Georgie Prespakis was typically important, as was Nina Morrison, to give the Cats an enormous chance of causing a boilover.

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