FREE-WHEELING Brisbane has again announced itself as a premiership contender with an emphatic 49-point victory over an inexperienced Fremantle at the Gabba on Sunday.
After an early armwrestle that had the scores locked at quarter-time, the Lions kicked the next six goals to open a match-winning lead and run out 11.10 (76) to 4.3 (27) victors.
Last season's league best and fairest Emily Bates picked up where she left off, gathering 19 disposals, six clearances and seven tackles, while fellow All-Australian Orla O'Dwyer was also highly influential with her 20 disposals and two smart goals.
Jesse Wardlaw (two goals) was too tall for a shorter Dockers backline, while Courtney Hodder and Greta Bodey also bobbed up for two goals apiece as part of the Lions' potent forward line.
LIONS v DOCKERS Full match coverage and stats
They had plenty of chances, winning the inside 50 count 45-17.
The only sour note was a knee injury to comeback defender Lily Postlethwaite, who will be scanned during the week.
With five new faces in its team following an off-season of turnover through expansion and injury, the Dockers battled hard but were outgunned.
A head clash between teammates Jessica Low (concussion) and Janelle Cuthbertson (nose) in the second quarter that left both unable to return summed up Fremantle's afternoon.
After Brisbane stormed to a 38-point lead during the third quarter, the Dockers fought back with quick goals to Aine Tighe, Megan Kauffman and Hayley Miller, but tired in the last term.
Brisbane was too good all over the ground as Belle Dawes (18) and Ally Anderson (23) offered fantastic midfield support for Bates.
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Greta Bodey was one of Brisbane's best players last season, and it didn't take the clever half-forward long to leave her mark on this game. After getting out the back to kick a second-quarter goal, Bodey produced an absolute show-stopper late in the third when she played on from a mark and uncorked a perfect checkside kick from deep in the right forward pocket for a Goal of the Week contender.
Nervous wait for Postlethwaite
After 553 days between AFLW games to recover from a ruptured ACL, the return of Lily Postlethwaite was meant to be one of Brisbane's feel-good stories ahead of round one. However, in the first quarter, it quickly soured. Postlethwaite crumpled to the turf as she attempted to gather a ground ball and was assisted from the field in clear pain. "When they hobble off and look like that, it's never a great sign," coach Craig Starcevich said post-match. "She's got some very close mates in the team who were affected by it. Knowing how hard she's worked to get back to today is devastating. We don't know what the outcome is yet until we get the scans."
Brisbane will try to make it two from two next Sunday when it travels to the nation's capital to face Greater Western Sydney at Manuka Oval at 3.10pm AEST. Fremantle heads home and has just six days to prepare for Geelong at Fremantle Community Bank Oval next Saturday at 11.40am AWST.
BRISBANE 1.1 4.3 8.7 11.10 (76)
FREMANTLE 1.1 1.2 4.2 4.3 (27)
Brisbane: Bodey 2, Hodder 2, O'Dwyer 2, Wardlaw 2, Conway, Smith, C.Svarc
Fremantle: Mulholland, Tighe, Kauffman, Miller
Brisbane: O'Dwyer, Bates, Dawes, Hodder, Anderson, Pullar, Wardlaw
Fremantle: Bowers, Miller, O'Driscoll, Tighe
Brisbane: Postlethwaite (knee)
Fremantle: Low (concussion), Cuthbertson (nose)
Crowd: 3,421 at the Gabba