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'Not a scratch': Davidson injury break key to AFLW flag

3 minute read

All-Australian forward Dakota Davidson beat the odds to play a key role in the Brisbane Lions' AFLW grand final win over North Melbourne.

CRAIG STARCEVICH. Picture: Daniel Carson/AFL Media/Getty Images

Brisbane Lions coach Craig Starcevich delivered Dakota Davidson a timely reminder halfway through the AFLW grand final that big games are decided by crucial moments.

And when hers finally came during the last quarter against North Melbourne on Sunday, Davidson grabbed them with both hands.

Under an injury cloud in the build-up, the 24-year-old had little impact in the first three quarters, with just three disposals.

But she stepped up with two crucial final-quarter goals to put the Lions in front and send them on their way to a second AFLW premiership.

"At halftime Craig looked me in the eyes and said, 'Daks, games are about moments and I'm sure you're going to get your moment soon'," Davidson told reporters.

"I took the first mark and thought, 'Here you go Daks, this is your moment'. I took it and Bob's your uncle, here I am."

Davidson had feared her shot at premiership glory was over when she injured her left knee in the preliminary final win over Geelong.

The All-Australian forward was in tears as she lay on the ground in agony, then faced a "scary" wait for the medical assessment.

But scans remarkably came back all clear, allowing Davidson to play her key role in the decider.

"As soon as the scans came back clear I thought I've got to do everything in my power to make sure I'm ready," Davidson said.

"I would never miss this game for the world.

"The doctor said, 'Ninety nine per cent of people would've easily torn something, but something's up with your knees, someone's looking over you'.

"It was a phenomenal 24 hours to say the least. I'm just stoked to be here, stoked with the outcome and this is what dreams are made of."

Brisbane captain Bre Koenen lauded Davidson's impact on the playing group.

"Daks is more than just a player on our team, she's like our barometer for energy as well," Koenen said.

"So to have her on the field today was pretty special, no matter what she did, and to be able to perform under that sort of pressure.

"She's incredible. Hats off to her."

Jubilant Brisbane players celebrated their Ikon Park victory with a jerry can - a team mascot of sorts that sat boundary-side.

It was a reminder of gruelling exercises at a pre-season boot camp, when players were required to carry cans full of water on long treks.

A sign adorned by a symbol of a jerry can was also held up by Lions staff on the bench late in quarters when extra effort was required.

"Every time times get tough we always throw up the jerry can," Davidson said.

"(That's when) everyone knows it's time to work hard like we did in the pre-season."

Davidson joked she didn't know how many Vodka Cruisers could fit in a jerry can, but vowed to find out during the premiership celebrations.

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