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Lions hold off Geelong in AFLW thriller

The Brisbane Lions’ thrilling two-point AFLW victory over Geelong has been soured by another expected ACL injury to an important player.

Three weeks after losing premiership star Kate Lutkins, forward Gabby Collingwood went down clutching her knee in her first AFLW game for almost two years.

Collingwood looked shattered as she was helped off the field during the second quarter and the Lions confirmed she would be assessed by medical staff.

She missed the entire 2021 season, including the Lions’ grand final win against Adelaide, after rupturing her ACL late in the 2020 season.

The Lions were pushed all the way by the improving Cats at Maroochydore on Saturday, before falling over the line 3.9 (27) to 4.1 (25).

Brisbane had serious trouble breaking down Geelong’s miserly defence, with the Lions dominating the inside-50 count 38-12, but were unable to capitalise on the scoreboard.

After leading by just seven points at the final change, the Lions created a handy gap early in the last quarter.

But Geelong came again, with star Chloe Scheer missing a set-shot to put the Cats in front with just minutes to go.

Rain started falling late in the game as the Lions hung on in the slippery conditions.

Irish flyer Orla O’Dwyer continued her outstanding start to the season, having a major influence on the contest with a goal and 14 disposals.

“We knew it wasn’t going to be easy, Geelong’s pressure was phenomenal, but we just kept fighting,” O’Dwyer told Fox Footy.

“They played fantastic right to the end so we’re very lucky to get the win.

“I’m surrounded by a great group and we make each other great.”

But Emily Bates was the Lions’ best, impressing as former captain Emma Zielke unfurled Brisbane’s AFLW flag at their first home game of the season.

Despite remaining winless, Geelong are one of the AFLW’s most improved teams.

The Cats went 1-8 last year, finishing with a percentage of 40 due to multiple beltings, to narrowly avoid the wooden spoon.

Before the season, Geelong pushing the reigning premiers to two points would have been unthinkable.

Amy McDonald, Scheer (three goals) and Rebecca Webster were the Cats’ best in a losing cause.

Geelong will start warm favourites for their next game against West Coast at GMHBA Stadium on Friday night.

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