EMILY Bates says last season's preliminary final loss to Melbourne helped galvanise Brisbane and solidify her decision to thwart rival offers and stay at the club.
Bates was heavily courted by expansion clubs during the off-season, but the reigning League best and fairest said the sting of losing to the Demons at the MCG played a huge role in her decision to stay.
On Sunday, the Lions get the opportunity to exact a measure of revenge on the Demons when they host the NAB AFLW Grand Final at Springfield's Brighton Homes Arena.
Speaking on Tuesday morning, Bates said the three-point loss in April hit hard.
"It was a great fuel for the girls. It also galvanised the group," Bates said.
"There was a lot of expansion last season, and we really made a commitment as a group to stay together because we thought if we stuck together, we could go that step further and make a Grand Final and hopefully win one.
"Heading into the prelim this year there was a belief that losing just was not an option for us.
"You just want to play in Grand Finals and win premierships and our group knew if we stuck together that's what we'd be challenging for."
After winning almost every individual accolade available earlier in the year, Bates has had an ever-so-slight dip in production this season, being overlooked for the All-Australian squad.
The 27-year-old has still been integral in the Lions' success and was arguably best on ground in Friday night's preliminary final win over Adelaide, amassing 22 disposals, including four clearances.
She said team success was her driving force for staying with the Lions, desperate to win a second premiership to sit alongside the one captured in 2021.
"Some of those teams (that chased her) are expansion teams and will take some time to find their feet, but you look back and think you've definitely made the right decision because you want to be making a Grand Final," she said.
"I'm quite self-aware and know I wasn't as dominant this season as I was last season, but at the end of the day I don't play for any external validation and awards, it's more how my teammates see me, how my coaches see me.
"If they're happy with how I'm performing, that's all that matters.
"I'm more than happy to be playing in a Grand Final, that's all that matters to me."