IT WAS a case of third time lucky for Brisbane on Saturday as it exacted revenge on Adelaide for their 2017 NAB AFLW Grand Final heartbreak with an 18-point triumph in the decider at Adelaide Oval.
The Lions overcame the heartbreaking loss of their captain Emma Zielke to a third-quarter hamstring injury to win their maiden premiership 6.2 (38) to 3.2 (20) in front of 22,934 spectators on a glorious autumn afternoon.
Following the match, Zielke and teammate Lauren Arnell announced their retirements to give them fairytale finishes.
The Crows had to deal with their own distressing loss in the third term, with stand-in skipper Angela Foley hobbling from the field after her left knee buckled dramatically in a marking contest.
It was a horror end to an uplifting week for the distraught Foley, after concussed captain Chelsea Randall chose her to lead the side in her absence.
She will have scans on her knee on Sunday morning, with the Crows "hoping for the best".
In the emotion-charged "premiership" quarter, it was the Lions that settled first and pulled away after leading by just five points at half-time.
Their surge saw them kick three unanswered goals, the third of which came from Belle Dawes on the three-quarter time siren, to give them a lead of 22 points going into the final term.
2021 AFLW GRAND FINAL Full match coverage and stats
While the Crows started the fourth with a quick goal to Eloise Jones after a 50m penalty, the Lions had done enough thanks to their third-quarter composure and the relentless defending of their backline.
Best on Ground Medal winner Kate Lutkins was phenomenal in defence, chopping off the Crows' forward forays when they bombed the ball inside 50 throughout the afternoon while giving the Lions constant drive from their back half.
She finished with 18 disposals, took eight marks and had 10 rebounds, with Breanna Koenen a solid support.
It was later revealed Lutkins has been playing under severe duress, having torn the plantar fascia in her foot in round eight against North Melbourne.
FIVE THINGS WE LEARNED Hodder is made for the big stage, captains curse strikes again
Premier tagger Cathy Svarc was also among the Lions' best, as she kept Ebony Marinoff quieter than usual while winning 12 possessions herself.
The Crows ultimately took the ball inside their forward 50 on 20 more occasions than the Lions did, but their untidy delivery and the immense pressure they were met with made it impossible for them to convert.
Did you see that?
Having already been nominated for this year's rebel AFLW Goal of the Year award – twice – it wasn't out of place to see Courtney Hodder weaving her magic deep inside forward 50. After kicking the game's opening goal three minutes into the first, Hodder slotted an absolute beauty midway through the second. She chased the ball deep into the pocket, and despite being under heavy pressure with Ailish Considine right on her tail, managed to soccer the ball off the ground while falling sideways for the Lions' second major.
Lions' speedster Ruby Svarc had a big job ahead of her when she lined up in the Colgate AFLW Grand Final Sprint if she was to replicate her big sister Cathy's first-half heroics. The midfielder did her family proud by claiming the sprint from St Kilda youngster Tyanna Smith, before her sister went on to be one of the Lions' best as she continued to reduce the influence of Crows gun Ebony Marinoff.
The Crows had some big calls to make this week after losing captain Chelsea Randall to concussion in last week's preliminary final win over Melbourne. Randall made the call to appoint Angela Foley as stand-in skipper, which paid off with the midfielder leading from the front as one of the Crows' leading disposal winners in the first half before she suffered her heart-breaking knee injury. Second to that, it was the match committee that elected to bring in Ailish Considine as Randall's replacement, which was another inspired move. The Irishwoman was terrific off half-back and through the midfield as she won 11 disposals and more than once got them moving.
ADELAIDE 1.0 2.1 2.2 3.2 (20)
BRISBANE 1.0 3.0 6.0 6.2 (38)
Adelaide: Thompson, Ponter, Jones
Brisbane: Hodder 2, Wuetschner 2, Arnell, Dawes
Adelaide: Thompson, Hatchard, Considine, Marinoff, Allan
Brisbane: Lutkins, Anderson, Svarc, Koenen, Bates, O'Dwyer
Adelaide: Foley (knee)
Brisbane: Zielke (hamstring)
Crowd: 22,934 at Adelaide Oval
Best on Ground Medal voting
12 - Kate Lutkins, Brisbane - 3333
9 - Ally Anderson, Brisbane - 3222
5 - Emily Bates, Brisbane - 2111
2 - Breanna Koenen, Brisbane - 2
2 - Stevie-Lee Thompson, Adelaide - 11
Judges voting - 3 2 1
Josh Vanderloo (Chair) – K Lutkins, A Anderson, E Bates
Debbie Lee – K Lutkins, A Anderson, E Bates
Courtney Cramey – A Anderson, E Bates, S Thompson
Chyloe Kurdas – K Lutkins, B Koenen, E Bates
Sarah Black – K Lutkins, A Anderson, S Thompson