The furore surrounding the choice of Brighton Homes Arena as the venue for Sunday’s AFLW grand final has unfairly taken away from the Brisbane Lions’ effort to reach the grand final.
That’s the belief of Lions star Sophie Conway, who has been bemused by the attention that has been placed on the game being played at Brisbane’s new Springfield base and doubts about the recently laid playing surface.
“The field is more talk of the town than we are, which is a bit interesting – you’d think it’d be the other way around,” Conway said ahead the Lions-Melbourne decider.
“The field is in tip-top nick. The curators and everyone have done an unreal job to date, so credit to them.
“We got to train on there (on Monday) night, which is awesome.
“It was really nice to have a bit of a feel for it, run around – it was great. We can’t wait.”
Star midfielder Emily Bates echoed Conway’s sentiments.
“It was pretty special to finally get to train on the ground after staring at it for the last six weeks,” Bates said.
“Everyone is really excited.”
The Lions are hoping to add a second premiership to the flag they won in 2021.
A grand final win would complete a campaign of redemption for Brisbane after losing to the Demons in the preliminary final last season that was played earlier this year.
“It was great fuel for the girls and it also galvanised our group,” Bates said.
“There was a lot of expansion that happened last season and we made a commitment as a group to stay together.
“We thought if we did that we could go that step further and make a grand final and hopefully win.”
Bates said she made the right decision to stay with the Lions in face of offers from rival cubs.
“It is a nice reward that we get to play in this grand final because we did stick together,” she said.
Bates, 27, has lifted in the finals series after a quieter-than-normal regular season led to her missing All-Australian selection.
“I am quite self-aware and I know I wasn’t as dominant this season as I was last season, but I don’t play for any external validation or rewards,” she said.
“It is more about how my teammates and coaches see me. If they are happy with how I am performing, then that is all that matters.”
Story Credit: news.com.au