A GLANCE AT THE 2023 AFLW GRAND FINAL
North Melbourne v Brisbane Lions, Ikon Park, Sunday, Dec 3, 2.30pm AEDT
Last meeting: Round four - North Melbourne 5.3 (33) lost to Brisbane 5.5 (35) at UTAS Stadium in Launceston
All-time head to head: Played 4, North Melbourne 0, Brisbane 4
Premierships: North Melbourne nil, Brisbane 1 (2021)
Season records: North Melbourne 9-3, Brisbane 9-3
The AFLW grand final returns to Melbourne for the first time since 2018 and will be played in front of a sold-out crowd of about 13,000 at Ikon Park despite calls for it to be moved to the much-larger Marvel Stadium. The AFL wouldn't budge, saying the Docklands venue currently has an unsuitable playing surface because of recent events staged on the turf. North Melbourne earned hosting rights for the decider as the higher-ranked team after finishing the regular season in third place, above Brisbane on percentage. Both sides had 7-3 regular-season records and secured direct passage to the grand final with victories in their two preceding finals matches. The Lions, who won the 2021 AFLW premiership, are shooting for a second flag and are competing in their fifth season decider from seven completed seasons. The Kangaroos are in their first AFLW grand final and are aiming to become the first expansion team to win a premiership, having entered the competition in its first growth phase in 2019. Brisbane have won all four previous meetings between the sides, including their most recent encounter back in round four. The Lions trailed by 18 points at halftime in that contest in Launceston but rallied in the second half to win by two points. Gun forward Dakota Davidson sent a scare through the Brisbane camp when she went down with a knee injury during the preliminary final, but has trained strongly this week to prove her fitness and looks set to take her place in the decider. North Melbourne star Jasmine Garner looms as a potential game-breaker after another outstanding season, in which she won the players' MVP award and coaches' champion player honour but finished equal seventh in the league's best-and-fairest award.
Australian Associated Press