Bates leads Brisbane to AFLW win over GWS

·3-min read

Two goals and 20 disposals from star midfielder Emily Bates helped Brisbane overcome a sluggish start and thrash GWS by 47 points with Lions coach Craig Starcevich saying their best is yet to come.

The Lions are now 2-0 to start the AFLW season after slicing through the Giants with 10 of the 11 goals after quarter-time, having now scored 140 points in two games to rank as easily the league's highest-scoring side.

Despite the comprehensive display, where Greta Bodey joined Bates in kicking two goals, Starcevich said there was room for improvement on the 10.7 (67) to 3.2 (20) victory at Manuka Oval in Canberra.

"We led the comp last year for inside 50s and our struggle is to convert those into scoring opportunities," he told reporters.

"That's starting to turn a little bit, but we still feel like we're leaving a few out there.

"In our competition, you only play a couple of practice games before you hit the season, so a lot of that connection and timing is still a work-in-progress."

Midfield maestro Bates took over with a huge second term and finished the first half with 14 touches, four inside 50s and four clearances, while she snapped two quick goals early in the third as the floodgates began to open.

Stung by a goalless opening term, Brisbane needed their stars to stand up and they got that from Orla O'Dwyer, who added a goal-assist to a long-bomb running goal as the Lions kicked three majors in eight minutes.

Starcevich's major message was to trust they could wear down the young Giants side.

"I (said) just stay calm, they got the two goals, but the inside 50s weren't massively apart," he said.

"We started to swing things back a little bit by the end of that quarter, whenever the girls get a couple of goals behind there is a tendency, maybe not to start panicking, but to get a bit concerned about things."

The win put the Lions second on the ladder, behind only Geelong via percentage.

The Giants had controlled the game's early stages through their prime midfielders, Alyce Parker (27 disposals, one goal) and Chloe Dalton (19 disposals) racking ball up at will.

Making matters worse, Giants defender Pepa Randall went down with a knee injury in the second term.

She didn't return after halftime, and GWS coach Cam Bernasconi confirmed things didn't look good, but said the fifth-year Giant would still be vital to the side even if she missed a long period of time.

"I'm feeling for Pep at the moment, we're just waiting to get some scans ... it's looking like it could be a serious knee injury," he told reporters.

"It'll be a huge loss for us, losing one of our best players, not just our best defenders.

"The role she plays in this young group now with a new game plan, she's gonna be instrumental in where we want to get to and her leadership off-field, I've been so impressed by the way she's evolved as a leader."