Lions beat Blues as AFLW debutante shines
The Brisbane Lions have made a winning start to life without All-Australian defender Kate Lutkins in style, defeating Carlton by 35 points in Tuesday's AFLW clash on the Gold Coast.
The Lions claimed a 9.9 (63) to 4.4 (28) win over the Blues at Metricon Stadium in the premiers' first match without the injured Lutkins in the club's history.
The hosts made three changes from the team which lost to Adelaide in round one and it was one of the Lions' two debutantes who stole the limelight in Zimmorlei Farquharson.
The 19-year-old made an instant impact, her first touch in AFLW ending in a mark and goal for forward Jesse Wardlaw.
The was one of two first-quarter goals for the Lions, who rebounded from their disappointing 30-point loss to the Crows in round one with an impressive performance.
Farquharson finished the game with 12 disposals and five marks in an eye-catching display, capping her debut in style with a smart right-foot finish from a tight angle in the fourth quarter for her maiden AFLW goal.
"She's a unique talent. I've been lucky to watch her through her junior days as well," Lions coach Craig Starcevich said.
"She's been this freakish talent all the way through junior years.
"Obviously grew up in Dalby, which is a long way from footy sophistication for want of a better word, so she's still learning the ropes when it comes to professionalism and all that sort of stuff, but there's no denying the talent."
Wardlaw finished with her two first-quarter goals while Greta Bodey and Jessica Wuetschner also grabbed two majors for the Lions.
Courtney Jones kicked three of Carlton's four goals with Nicola Stevens scoring the other major for the visitors.
Lions star and two-time All-Australian Emily Bates had 23 disposals and kicked a fourth-quarter goal in a best-on-ground performance while Irish forward Orla O'Dwyer had a busy night with 20 touches.
The flat Blues, who handed debuts to Keeley Sherar and Brooke Vickers, were outfought throughout although 2020 AFLW best and fairest Madison Prespakis managed a game-high 27 disposals.
"We've found the level now," Blues coach Daniel Harford said.
"They're the premiers, we knew that coming in, it's pretty clear, but they played a game tonight that really showed us up in just about all facets of the contest.
"That's not up to standard.
"I think we're better than that, but we didn't show anywhere near that tonight so we got pantsed."
Brisbane's win did come at a cost, however, with ruck Taylor Smith coming off early in the fourth quarter though Starcevich dismissed fears Smith had sustained a serious knee injury.
"It looked on the video just a rolled ankle," he said.
"That's the way the physios have sort of explained it but you never know until you scan them. Hopefully it's just a garden variety rolled ankle."
The Lions host Geelong on Saturday with Dakota Davidson (foot) and Sophie Conway (COVID-19) in line to return, while Carlton's next game is against North Melbourne on Sunday.
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