The Western Bulldogs are the 2018 AFLW premiers after they scored a thrilling six-point win over the Brisbane Lions in slippery conditions at Ikon Park.
The Bulldogs trailed by a goal at halftime but a stunning third-quarter resurgence propelled them to a 4.3 (27) to 3.3 (21) win in front of 7083 fans.
It was heartbreak for the Lions once again after they lost last year’s grand final to Adelaide by the same margin.
Torrential rain that swept Melbourne on Saturday morning eased as the game got underway but still made conditions tricky for players.
Brisbane’s pressure was important early and they were duly rewarded when Sophie Conway kicked the only goal of the first quarter after Jess Wuetschner found her with a clever pass.
The Lions led by a goal at the first break and that remained the margin at halftime after neither side managed to bother the scorer in the second term.
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The Lions’ barren run continued in the third but the Dogs made their move.
Deanna Berry levelled the scores when she bounced through a goal from outside 50 then Kirsten McLeod, who came in for suspended skipper Katie Brennan, goaled in heavy traffic.
Monique Conti capped a stunning surge by the home side with a brilliant snapped goal with 15 seconds left that put gave them a 13-point lead at three-quarter time.
Wuetschner kicked the first goal of a thrilling final term to give her side a chance, but Emma Kearney goaled soon after to ease Bulldog nerves.
Another goal to Wuetschner set up a thrilling climax, but the Lions’ challenge ended when Dogs’ defender Libby Birch took a superb intercept mark as the siren sounded.