BRISBANE'S giant-killing run has continued, notching a fourth straight victory and taking a temporary hold of top spot with a 15-point win over North Melbourne at the Gabba.
The Lions had the better of the play for much of the wet-weather day, but it took a Courtney Hodder moment of brilliance midway through the final quarter to seal the 4.11 (35) to 2.8 (20) victory.
LIONS v KANGAROOS Full match coverage and stats
It was the Lions' first game ever at the Gabba, and first home game in a month, and came just six days after toppling previously unbeaten Collingwood in Melbourne.
North had the better of possession, winning the disposal count 257-213, but the Lions' pressure was suffocating.
They trailed by a point at quarter-time, and despite some wayward kicking that threatened to derail their performance, eventually ground past the Kangaroos.
Second-year midfielder Isabel Dawes (19 disposals) was relentless for all four quarters, while the rock-solid backline led by captain Emma Zielke and Kate Lutkins were almost impenetrable.
Goals to Jess Wuetschner and a clever effort from Sophie Conway in the third term gave the home team some breathing space, but it was Hodder's magic in the fourth that had the home fans cheering.
The Lions can seal a top-two spot with a win over Melbourne at Casey Fields next Saturday.
North Melbourne's midfielders had plenty of the ball, with Jenna Bruton (26), Ash Riddell (25), Jess Duffin (24) and Emma Kearney (24) leading the way.
Did you see that?
Take a bow Courtney Hodder. The Lions livewire ripped any chance North had of snatching victory from it midway through the final term with a piece of individual brilliance. Greta Bodey squared the ball with her left boot to around 35m from goal, when suddenly Hodder appeared from nowhere to spoil a Kangaroos defender. Hodder kept her feet, gathered and snapped on her right foot in congestion to give the home team the breathing space it needed.
The ladder now
The season could hardly be set for a better conclusion, with both teams running into final-round opponents that will not only shape the top six, but the top two and minor premiership. Brisbane plays Melbourne at Casey Fields and needs to win to give itself a chance of finishing in the all-important top two. Currently the Lions are neck and neck with Collingwood and Fremantle. North has a desperate final round against Fremantle at Arden Street and still needs to win to ensure it will play finals.
What the Svarc?
Cathy Svarc has done it again. The Brisbane midfielder has added another scalp to her growing list of tagging victims after keeping Jasmine Garner quiet. Just a week after putting the clamps on Magpie Bri Davey (14 disposals), she did so against the prolific Kangaroo, keeping her without a touch in the first term and to just 14 for the game.
"Enormously proud of them. They had every reason possible to fall off the cliff after three travels and six days into this one and getting happy with what you've achieved, but they keep finding new ways to test themselves and keep improving. We know they can play, but half the battle is believing that they can play and belong at the top end of the comp." - Brisbane coach Craig Starcevich
"Our season's in our own hands. We either win tonight or we win next week and we play finals and the girls are well aware of that. We'll review the game and look at areas we need to grow and get better as a team." – North Melbourne coach Darren Crocker
North Melbourne returns home for a blockbuster final round next Saturday afternoon, hosting Fremantle at Arden St from 1.10pm AEDT. Brisbane also heads south for its last home and away match, travelling to Casey Fields on Saturday to play Melbourne at 3.10pm AEDT.
BRISBANE 1.2 1.8 3.9 4.11 (35)
NORTH MELBOURNE 1.3 1.4 2.5 2.8 (20)
Brisbane: Davidson, Wuetschner, Conway, Hodder
North Melbourne: Abbatangelo, Bateman
Brisbane: Dawes, Lutkins, Zielke, Bates, Svarc, O'Dwyer
North Melbourne: Bruton, Riddell, Kearney, Duffin
Brisbane: Campbell (head)
North Melbourne: Nil
Crowd: 6613 at the Gabba
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