Craig Starcevich says Sunday's heartbreaking Grand Final loss to Melbourne will "burn" his young team, but the Brisbane coach believes the best is yet to come.

The Lions got out to an early 11-point lead but were overwhelmed by a disciplined Demons, battling to generate inside 50s and ultimately going down by four points.

It was their third Grand Final loss by under a goal in seven AFLW seasons, to go along with the 2021 triumph against Adelaide.

Starcevich said he was proud of his team, pointing out their collective 29-7 win-loss record over the past three seasons, but conceded this result would hurt.


"It's going to burn for a little while," he said.

"This time around there's a big gap between seasons so it's going to be something you have to carry for a little while."

Starcevich was full of praise for his opponent, saying they were able to stifle Brisbane's running game and want to get the ball to the outside.

He said ultimately their discipline won the day.

It's a recipe that has seen the Demons now defeat the Lions in four of their past five contests by less than a kick, but the coach was upbeat about his team's future.


"Two season ago we had a lot of players that were 21 or younger," he said.

"This time around they are all a year-and-a-half older, but they are still young in footy terms. They've got some experience now but in their athletic maturation, they've got a bit to go still.

"They are still learning to be good footballers, learning to cop a bit of adversity and fight through it. Today that really, really got tested.

"The best is yet to come because there's still a major portion of our group that are 22 or younger, which is fantastic for us going forward, playing the long game."

Captain Bre Koenen suffered a knee injury during the second term that Starcevich confirmed as a posterior cruciate ligament.


The All-Australian defender played the game out and the coach expects the recovery time to be relatively swift.

The match was the official opening of Brisbane's new $80 million Brighton Homes Arena, packed with 7512 spectators that withstood humid but overcast conditions.

"I thought it was fantastic," Starcevich said.

"Seeing the people roll in, it was amazing to see the place full. it went from a training ground to a venue with spectators.

"It’s a shame we weren’t able to pick them all up, take them with us and get to the final line as victors, but that's footy."