Brisbane’s Lauren Arnell kicks under pressure. Picture: Getty Images
Brisbane’s Lauren Arnell kicks under pressure. Picture: Getty Images

Heartbreak for Lions as Pies crush finals dream

The Magpies swooped on Brisbane's finals aspirations, drew blood and winged it away with a 3.7 (25) to 2.7 (19) victory.

After Geelong spectacularly imploded against GWS on Friday night, the two-time grand finalist had everything to play for against bottom-placed Collingwood in Round 7.

Win, and a conference B finals berth was theirs. Lose, and the season was over.

Remember, Brisbane had been in this situation before - think back to 2018 when they thumped the Giants by 40 points in Round 7 to leapfrog Melbourne into a grand final berth.

All the stars were ready to shine - Emma Zielke, Jess Wuetschner, Kate McCarthy, Sabrina Frederick-Traub - and a young Lions contingent featuring Jade Ellenger and Jacqui Yorston looked hungry for success.

Yet, as their male counterparts so often do, the women of Collingwood were determined to spoil the party.

nd just like that, the finals dream died.

Collingwood's Ash Brazill steered her side home and helped keep the Cats' season alive.

Tagging Wuetschner is never easy but Brisbane's chief goalsneak was restricted to just one first-quarter goal by the relentless Brazill.

That tenacity was mirrored by her fellow Magpies, who restricted the Lions to just 41 disposals and three clearances in the opening term, and while Brisbane lifted after Zielke majored in the third quarter, Collingwood were never out-enthused.

Jacqui Yorston is consoled after Brisbane’s loss to Collingwood. Picture; Getty Images
Jacqui Yorston is consoled after Brisbane’s loss to Collingwood. Picture; Getty Images

It would be wrong, even cruel, to fault the efforts of a side that bravely scrapped their way into finals contention, albeit with the assistance of a skewed conference system.

But seven behinds show Brisbane had a reasonable presence inside Collingwood's 50 throughout the game and three minor scores in the final term prove the Lions had their chances at the death.

The dying minutes were hard to watch as a Lions fan but no moment cut deeper than Wuetschner's fumbled mark in the forward pocket.

The small forward latched on to a wayward set shot but was deemed to have crossed the boundary without full control of the ball.

Were she awarded the mark, Wuetschner had every chance of splitting the goals off her preferred left foot and levelling the scores with 60 seconds to play.

But she wasn't, and she didn't, and that 60-second window of hope was closed in her face.

And as that final minute ticked down and their rivals stormed downfield, you could see the realisation sinking in for each and every Brisbane player.

It was game over. Plain and simple.

As the siren sounded, the heartbreak etched on every Lions' face was matched only by the Magpies' joy at breaking their winless duck and singing "Good Old Collingwood Forever" in front of 2030 adoring fans at Victoria Park.

A feel-good story for some, just not for the women of Brisbane.