Dogs down Lions to claim AFLW premiership

Western Bulldogs skipper Katie Brennan couldn't play in Saturday's thrilling six-point AFLW grand final win over the Brisbane Lions, but she at least got to hold up the premiership cup.

Bulldogs players Kirsten McLeod (l) and Ellie Blackburn after winning the AFLW grand final.

Bulldogs players Kirsten McLeod (l) and Ellie Blackburn after winning the AFLW grand final.

In scenes reminiscent of the Bulldogs' 2016 AFL grand final win, Brennan - who was controversially banned during the week - was called onto the stage to hold aloft the cup with coach Paul Groves and stand-in captain Ellie Blackburn after the 4.3 (27) to 3.3 (21) win.

Monique Conti was one of several players to stand up in Brennan's absence, the Dogs forward taking out the player of the match award for her pivotal role in turning the game in her side's favour after halftime.

"I'm just really proud - that's probably the overriding emotion at the moment," Groves said.

"We've had 30 girls who've really busted a gut and another seven or eight in our program last year when results weren't great.

"I'm proud of everyone who has contributed in some way to lifting the cup up."

It capped a big week for Groves whose wife gave birth to their second child on Tuesday.

It was double heartbreak for the Lions after they lost last year's grand final to Adelaide by the same margin.

"Last year was disappointing ... this one's frustrating because we thought we were all over them early in the game," Lions coach Craig Starcevich said.

"We didn't get a chance to capitalise on our opportunities and you've definitely got to do that against a good opposition."

Torrential rain that swept Melbourne on Saturday morning eased at Ikon Park as the game got underway but still made conditions tricky.

Brisbane's pressure was important early and they were rewarded when Sophie Conway kicked the only goal of the first quarter after Jess Wuetschner found her with a clever pass.

The Lions led by a goal at the first break and that remained the margin at halftime after neither side managed to bother the scorer in the second term.

The Lions' barren run continued in the third but the Dogs made their move.

Deanna Berry levelled the scores when she bounced through a goal from outside 50; then Kirsten McLeod, who came in for Brennan, goaled in heavy traffic.

Conti capped a stunning surge by the home side with a brilliant snapped goal with 15 seconds left that put gave them a 13-point lead at three-quarter time.

Wuetschner kicked the first goal of a thrilling final term to give her side a chance, but Emma Kearney scored soon after to ease Bulldog nerves.

Another goal to Wuetschner set up a thrilling climax, but the Lions' challenge ended when Dogs defender Naomi Ferres took a superb intercept mark as the siren sounded.

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