The big story

The Lions are looking to win their second premiership, after winning the 2021 AFLW premiership, and top off a superb season in their seventh season.

Across from them, the Demons have also been a stalwart of the competition and of finals, and will be looking to overcome the heartbreak of losing a grand final less than eight months ago. The Demons finished Season Six in heartbreaking fashion, and will be looking to avoid the same fate today.

The Lions are hosting the match after finishing just 0.3 per cent above the Demons at the end of the home and away season, giving them the right to host the game at Springfield, their soon-to-be training facility.

If the Lions win, they will be the second club (behind the Adelaide Crows) to win multiple AFLW premierships. If the Demons win, they will celebrate their first premiership, and become just the second Victorian club in seven seasons to win the competition.

Last time they met

In Round Four of this season, the Lions beat the Demons to stamp their credentials as premiership favourites. In windy conditions, the Demons jumped out to a hot start, with three goals before the Lions were on the board.

The Lions fought back, bringing the game back to almost level pegging at half time, turning the game into a grinding battle of attrition.

With Tayla Harris missing from the Demons' lineup, the forward structure was not as effective, and the Lions could transition the ball down the field more efficiently.

At the end of the match, the Lions were standing with the win, with big performances from Cathy Svarc and eventual best and fairest winner Ally Anderson starring.

Opposite them, Lily Mithen and Maddi Gay were among the Demons' best performers, as the Demons' four-match winning streak over the Lions was broken.

How the Lions got here

The Lions jumped out of the blocks this season, with one of the all-time starts of any team in competition history. The Lions won their first three games by an average of eight goals, before being challenged by the Lions, and beaten by the Tigers in Round Five.

After a tight loss to the Tigers, the Lions turned it around, with five straight wins to finish the home and away season, including wins over finals contenders like the Crows and Kangaroos.

In the first week of the finals, the Lions had their revenge, dispatching the Tigers at Metricon Stadium, with Cathy Svarc leading the way in the middle, and the Lions runners like Jade Ellenger, Orla O'Dwyer and Sophie Conway running free on the wing.

In the preliminary final, the Lions found their rhythm and dominated the reigning premiers, the Crows. Courtney Hodder and Jesse Wardlaw showed why they have been so dangerous all season, with two goals each as the Lions pulled away from the Crows. It was another clinical performance in a season full of strong performances from the Lions.

How the Demons got here

The Demons were tested early, with a grand final rematch against the Crows to start the season. After a battle against the Kangaroos in Round Two, the Demons were match-hardened early.

After the loss to the Lions in Round Four, the Demons would go on a tear, winning their final six matches of the home and away season by an average of 50 points.

The Demons were caught napping early in their qualifying final against the Crows, with shades of the Season Six Grand Final in mind early. Liv Purcell got the Demons on the board, before Sarah Lampard and Alyssa Bannan helped the Demons pull away from the Crows.

The Demons were tested in their preliminary final, taken down to the wire by a hungry Kangaroos. Karen Paxman and Daisy Pearce were the standouts for the Demons, able to find time and space in a frenetic match. Paxman was influential early, while Pearce kicked a critical goal late, and helped seal the Demons' spot in a second consecutive grand final.

Players to watch

Ally Anderson: Crowned the Best and Fairest in Season Seven earlier this week, Anderson will be a key player in the midfield battle that will decide the Grand Final. Anderson will likely be asked to play a dual role by Craig Starcevich, winning the ball and playing a defensive position against one of the Demons' midfielders.

Anderson has been a standout player this year, recognised for her performances, but sometimes is forgotten amongst the star-studded Lions' midfield. If she sets the tone with tackling pressure and is able to maintain clean possession in the clinches, it will go a long way to sealing the contest for the Lions.

Olivia Purcell: An unheralded player at times, Purcell has become a key player in the Demons' midfield. She has taken her game to a new level this season, averaging more disposals, more marks and more clearances than her career average.

Her role has been to provide a pressure outlet and an alternative option in the middle for the Demons, when Karen Paxman is locked up in the middle. If she plays a prolific role, it will go a long way to helping the Demons win.

Olivia Purcell in action for the Demons earlier this season, against the Western Bulldogs. Image: Matt Haug

Emily Bates: Bates is a bona-fide superstar for the Lions, and of the competition. The Best & Fairest winner in Season Six has been a leader of the competition, clean sweeping the Players' and Coaches' Awards in the same season.

The foundation Lion has been rounding into strong form, with two of her best performances of the year in finals, with a season-best output last week against the Crows. If she is as prolific today, with 30+ disposals, the Lions will be feeling good about their chances.

Daisy Pearce: Pearce might be the most recognisable name in the AFLW, and it is a reputation well-earned. A dynamic forward, Pearce has had a reduced output on the scoreboard this season, with just six goals from 12 matches.

Pearce will be key for the Demons, and the Lions will focus on keeping her quiet and off the scoreboard, knowing that she has the potential to break the game open. Pearce has hit the scoreboard in finals already, with the sealer last week, in a season-best performance.

Key matchups

Courtney Hodder v Maddi Gay: The battle of the speedsters, with the dynamic Hodder facing up against Gay, who is as close to a great matchup with Hodder as there is in the competition.

Hodder has previously shown that she has the speed to break apart a grand final, and Gay will be up to the task of making sure it doesn't happen again.

Gay's role will not just be to negate Hodder though, she will also be responsible for making the Lions' speedster accountable the other way, as she will look to set up the Demons in attack as well.

Maddi Gay flies for a mark for the Demons in Round One of Season Seven. Image: Dani Brown

Orla O'Dwyer v Lily Mithen: Orla O'Dwyer is another Lion with the ability to break the game open. She, along with Sophie Conway and Jade Ellenger will rotate along the wings of Springfield, looking to be damaging with run and carry, and incisive by foot.

Mithen, along with Casey Sherriff and Sarah Lampard will look to keep the wings under control, and force the Lions to play inside, and not use the breakaway speed.

WHoever patrols the wings more effectively, and controls the flow of outside ball will go a long way to deciding which captain lifts the premiership cup after the final siren.

Kate Lutkins v Tayla Harris: Lutkins has scrambled back from a torn ACL in January, returning to play after just ten months, and fitting in quickly. She has returned to her best, and is yet again a stalwart in defence for the Lions.

Tayla Harris is one of the big question marks about this grand final. She suffered a shoulder injury of some description in the preliminary final, but has shrugged it off. Harris also missed the clash earlier in the season, due to suspension.

Her addition to the Demons' forward line gives them a new complexion, with a bailout option, and a strong leading target. If Harris is given free run at the ball, and the chance to damage her old side on the scoreboard, the match may well swing with her boot.


The Lions have been the class of the competition all season, and have shown how blistering their play can be, as they dispatched finals rivals with relative ease.

While a blowout is unlikely, the Lions will feel confident about their chances this afternoon, to take home a second premiership, and crown a stunning season.

Lions by 8.