BRISBANE rode a memorable debut by teenager Zimmorlei Farquharson to get its premiership defence on track with an emphatic 35-point triumph over Carlton at Metricon Stadium on Tuesday night.
Playing their first game in 16 days following an opening round loss to Adelaide, the Lions were ballistic in both their defensive pressure and speed of ball movement from the opening minutes in their 9.9 (63) to 4.4 (28) triumph.
The win could have come at a cost though, with tall forward Taylor Smith being helped from the ground early in the final quarter with what appeared to be a serious right knee injury, however the Lions are hopeful it was an ankle concern.
Farquharson was outstanding in the win, the lanky half-forward setting up a goal for Jesse Wardlaw with her first touch and never looking back.
Wearing a long-sleeved jumper in the humid conditions, she finished with 12 disposals, five marks and a clever final quarter goal in a performance highlighted by blistering pace and poise beyond her years.
Brisbane led by 12 points at quarter-time following two goals to Wardlaw and extended to 20 at the half with Jess Wuetschner and Courtney Hodder capitalising on the swift ball movement with majors of their own.
LIONS v BLUES Full match coverage and stats
The absence of All-Australian defender Kate Lutkins (knee) for the first time in Brisbane's history and 2021 leading goalkicker Dakota Davidson (foot) seemed to make little difference against a flat-footed Blues.
Emily Bates was magnificent in the midfield, gathering 23 disposals, including seven clearances and kicking a goal to slightly edge magnificent Maddy Prespakis (27) in a terrific duel.
Nat Grider and Phoebe Monahan were outstanding in the backline, while wingers Orla O'Dwyer and Jade Ellenger provided plenty of drive through the middle of the ground.
Zimmie Farquharson's first touch will be one she long remembers. Gathering the ball on centre wing, the country Queensland product sped away, taking a bounce before pumping the ball deep inside 50 and on to the chest of Jesse Wardlaw at the top of the goalsquare. It would spark the Lions and begin a debut to remember.
It can be easy to take Emily Bates for granted. She hasn't missed a game for Brisbane since the competition's inception, is a best and fairest winner and two-time All-Australian, but had perhaps one of the best games of her career against the Blues. With running mates Ally Anderson and Cathy Svarc alongside her, Bates was brilliant, racking up 23 disposals, including seven clearances in a best on ground performance. Her left-footed snap for a final quarter goal was a fitting exclamation point.
Brisbane dominated in most areas, particularly its speed of ball movement from turnover, but where it really excelled was defensive pressure. The hungry Lions laid a whopping 17 tackles inside their forward 50, led by Orla O'Dwyer (four) and Courtney Hodder (three) to Carlton's three. In turn, this helped them to a landslide 49-29 inside 50 advantage to provide plenty of chances for the forwards.
"It looked on the video just a rolled ankle. That's the way the physios have explained it, but you never know until you scan them. Hopefully it's just a garden variety rolled ankle." – Brisbane coach Craig Starcevich (on injured forward Taylor Smith)
"Brisbane's game tonight was as good a game as I've seen a team play. We found the level now. They are the premiers and we knew that coming in, but they played a game tonight that really showed us up in just about all facets of the contest." – Carlton coach Daniel Harford
Brisbane has a four-day turnaround before facing Geelong at Maroochydore on Saturday at 4.10pm (AEST) for its first home match of the season. Carlton has an extra day to prepare for its next match, hosting North Melbourne at Ikon Park on Sunday at 3.10pm (AEDT).
BRISBANE 3.1 5.3 5.6 9.9 (63)
CARLTON 1.1 2.1 2.4 4.4 (28)
Brisbane: Bodey 2, Wardlaw 2, Wuetschner 2, Farquharson, Bates, Hodder
Carlton: Jones 3, Stevens
Brisbane: Bates, Grider, O'Dwyer, Farquharson, Monahan, Ellenger
Carlton: Preskapis, Moody, Jones, Harrington, Laloifi
Brisbane: Smith (ankle)
Crowd: TBC at Metricon Stadium
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