A STUNNING second quarter has laid the foundation for Brisbane to storm past Adelaide by 22 points in Friday night's top of the table clash at Metricon Stadium.
After a tight first quarter the Lions exploded with four unanswered goals in the second, overwhelming the Crows with unrelenting pressure and dynamic ball movement to win 8.5 (53) to 4.7 (31).
Brisbane remains the competition leaders with two rounds remaining and have consigned the Crows to a battle to remain in the top four.
The Lions' victory was characterised by suffocating defensive pressure, giving Adelaide no time or space with the ball.
Then when they won it back, it was off to the races with Sophie Conway (15 disposals and two goals) and Orla O'Dwyer (15) tearing down the wings and Belle Dawes (16), Ally Anderson (22 and a goal) and Cathy Svarc (11 and 12 tackles) providing the midfield run.
LIONS v CROWS Full match coverage and stats
Forward of the ball, the Lions put on a masterclass in intensity. Jesse Wardlaw (two goals) continued her great season to extend her lead at the top of the competition's goalkickers (14) and set the tone by kicking the game's first after winning a holding the ball decision.
Courtney Hodder started the second-quarter carnage, swooping on a loose ball to snap truly with her right foot.
Minutes later it was Greta Bodey's turn – she had another magnificent game - to inflict the defensive domination, pinning Hannah Button to win a free kick and convert. When Conway and Dakota Davidson added goals later in the term, Brisbane had surged to a 22-point lead at the main change.
Adelaide never gave up, holding back a tidal wave of inside 50s against them in the third quarter to remain in touch at the final change.
Skipper Chelsea Randall (23 and a goal) was ferocious all night, while Ebony Marinoff (33) ran herself ragged.
Did you see that?
Brisbane winger Sophie Conway might come under the microscope of the Match Review Officer for a second quarter incident involving Chelsea Randall. Conway fashioned a kick while being tackled to the ground by Randall, but as she got up put her forearm into Randall's chin. Not only did Conway give away a free kick, but it led to a split lip for the Crows' skipper that required stitches and kept her off the ground for 10 minutes.
Brisbane's defensive intensity had to be seen to be believed. Not only did they end up with 27 more disposals, but incredibly won the tackle count 62-40. Wardlaw and Bodey both kicked goals directly from winning holding the ball decisions. Brisbane laid 10 tackles inside 50 to Adelaide's six. Cathy Svarc led the way with 12 tackles for the night, while Ally Anderson (seven) and Emily Bates (six) ensured that any ball won by the Crows would be under serious heat.
Brisbane will attempt to keep itself on top of the ladder next Saturday night when it heads south to take on Hawthorn at Frankston's Skybus Stadium at 7.10pm (AEDT). The Crows will look to rebound against Geelong next Friday night when they host the Cats at Unley Oval from 5.10pm (ACDT).
BRISBANE 1.1 5.2 5.5 8.5 (53)
ADELAIDE 1.4 1.4 2.6 4.7 (31)
Brisbane: Conway 2, Wardlaw 2, Anderson, Bodey, Davidson, Hodder
Adelaide: Charlton, Newman, Ponter, Randall
Brisbane: Conway, Dawes, Anderson, Bodey, Koenen, Grider
Adelaide: Randall, Biddell, Marinoff, Charlton, Hatchard
Crowd: TBC at Metricon Stadium