Keys to AFLW Grand Final success for Brisbane Lions and Melbourne Demons

Keys to AFLW Grand Final success for Brisbane Lions and Melbourne Demons

With the second AFLW Grand Final of 2022 and the sixth overall approaching, debates rage over who will raise the trophy from Brisbane or Melbourne on Sunday afternoon.

There’s a key statistic for each of the two most dominant teams throughout the season that shows their control of games and ultimately their ability to win.

Brisbane – struggling within 50

Brisbane Lions have been the most dangerous side on offense this season. They reduced the striker combinations to a work of art, but above all, the key to the team’s success was the willingness of each player to work hard on offense as well as defense.

Brisbane on Sunday may be the first team in competition history to have 10 or more steals out of 50 per game during the season.(Getty Images: Russell Freeman)

Brisbane has reached 50 double-digit tackles per game this season, and if they do so again on Sunday, they will be the first team in competition history to make 10 or more 50 tackles per game in competition history. season.

As a result, the Lions averaged 17 points per game, breaking their own record of 15.8 last season, setting a record 50 indoor steals.

Courtney Hodder leads with a total of 34 players to date, and eight more Lions have spawned 10 or more over the course of the season. That’s 36 percent of the Lions’ double-digit steals rate by playing at least one game during the season, 7.4 percent more than any other team.

AFL player Alana Porter of the Magies is chased by Courtney Hodder of the Lions
Brisbane’s Courtney Hodder (right) leads with a total of 34 steals out of 50.(Getty Images: Bradley Kanaris)

Those who tackle 50 points are vital and while it is an indication that Brisbane is playing a game on their terms, they are not alone, but instead are contributing to a wider offensive offensive.

Using that pressure to nip the ball on offense, Brisbane has shot through almost half of their inside 50 entries – the most involved player in the competition this season – and is scoring 20.5 percent of those entries.

While these numbers alone are high, they also come with the fact that the Lions averaged 36.7 in 50 seconds per game, the third-highest average in competitive history.

This combination resulted in an average of 18 shots on goal and 52.5 points per game, making this season’s Lions the second most productive offensive team since the competition began.

But it’s all based on ground-level pressure, a desire to not only get the ball forward but keep it there, and that’s tied to Brisbane’s record challenge of 50 points.

Melbourne—an elite game of handball

Melbourne wowed the football world this season with its elite game of handball around the competition to kick off the rest of the ball action.

It’s not just the willingness to play handball in traffic jams, but the efficiency of Melbourne’s players in making them happen. It is placed quickly and perfectly on teammates moving out, meaning those on the receiving end rarely have to take a step to get the ball clean.

With an average handball record of 108.6 per game over another 244.7 disposals, Melbourne strives to maintain possession and methodically uses these handballs at close range before moving on to careful outside hits.

Ruck and rover combination Lauren Pearce and Eliza West take the lead, with 61.6 percent and 68.8 percent of their disposals being recorded as handball.

Eliza West goes to handball while she is into football.
Eliza West plays by hand 68.8 percent of the time.(Getty Images: Quinn Rooney)

Melbourne have recorded less than 100 handballs in a game just twice this season, one of which was their only loss of the season in the fourth round against Brisbane.

For some teams, excessive handing meant panicky, bad ball handling, while for the Demons it meant they took the game on their own terms, recording a 62.5 percent disposal efficiency in the process – the fourth-highest in the competition. season.

The demons can remain somewhat unpredictable when using the ball like this.

Lauren Pearce plays a hand during an AFLW game.
Lauren Pearce is also at the forefront of handball, accounting for 61.6 percent of its layoffs.(Getty Images: Daniel Pockett)

While the opponents are aware that Melbourne wants to move the ball in this way, the speed and unpredictability of the actual start is very difficult to defend, which would almost turn possession of this ball into an offensive raid. When Melbourne kicks the ball out, he tends to use the ball quickly, moving towards the deep and varied striker line.

The added bonus of this style of play for Melbourne is the way it forces opponents to play competitive football when they don’t necessarily want to.

Overall, 55.1 percent of possessions the Demons have bestowed this season have been contested, showing how difficult and tight it is to win the ball against them. In addition, Melbourne accepts minimum disposals from both sides, allowing only 186.8 disposals per match to their opponent.

Melbourne’s all-powerful defense and prolific offense are fueled by the smart, efficient handball game surrounding the competition. This efficiency came from repeated, specific training as a unit, and time spent together as a playgroup on the field to understand each other’s running patterns and quirks.

These key stats – Brisbane’s 50-point battles and Melbourne’s smooth hand – will be a vital indicator of which team is at the top and in control of Sunday’s Grand Final. If either side can take it from their opponent, this will go a long way towards ultimate victory.

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