In a season of highlights, the heroics of Brisbane’s backline cannot be undersold.

Having been overpowered by a firing Melbourne in Season Six, questions were asked of the Lions back five, and while the fairy-tale wasn’t to be in Season Seven, Brisbane’s defenders lifted in crucial moments throughout the year.

Lead by fearless Skipper, Bre Koenen, the Lions backline ranked #2 in the competition for points against and were ruthless in their pressure on the ball carrier and dominant in the air.

Koenen continued to inspire her team through her actions, putting together her most complete season-to-date.

The 27-year-old was one of two defenders rewarded with All-Australian honours, joining Nat Grider and being recognised for her leadership with the privilege of Vice-Captaincy.

Shannon Campbell’s career has flown under the radar for much of her football journey, but the intercept machine was at the peak of her powers in Season 7, highlighted on the biggest stage of them all where she was awarded Best on Ground in the Grand Final.

Lulu Pullar continued to be a consistent contributor and develop her defensive craft in the first half of the season, while Sharni Webb played a pivotal part in the Lions season defining win over Melbourne in Round 4.

The miraculous return of Kate Lutkins was one that inspired football fans everywhere, while recruit, Dee Heslop slotted into the team beautifully.


2023 is a Big Year for…

Nat Grider

Already a rising star in her own right, Nat Grider didn’t miss a beat in Season Seven.

At just 22, Grider became the Lions Vice-Captain and like her leader, Bre Koenen, she rose to the occasion time and time again.

Averaging 11.5 disposals, 4.5 tackles and three marks a game, Grider rarely lost a contest and was rewarded for her consistent season with her maiden All-Australian blazer.

Arguably her best performance for the season came in the Lions Preliminary Final victory over rivals, Adelaide, where the 22-year-olds pressure shone with nine tackles and nine intercept possessions.

A year into her leadership duties and with plenty of fire in the belly after the heartbreak of the Grand Final, expect Grider to hit 2023 with pace as she looks to lead her team by example.  

Unsung Hero

Phoebe Monahan

Phoebe Monahan isn’t the biggest disposal getter going around, but her work rate and versatility is crucial to Brisbane’s team.

Since her arrival from Richmond at the end of 2021, the 29-year-old has been a mainstay in the Lions side.

The absence of Kate Lutkins at the start of the season meant a role change for Monahan, shifting from her usual lockdown defensive duties to a rebounding, intercept role.


While many defenders would battle with the change, she took to it like a duck to water, highlighted with an impressive 25-disposal, 11-mark display against Gold Coast in Round 3.

When Lutkins eventually returned in Round 6, Monahan returned to her lockdown strengths, often taking the most dangerous opposition forward week-to-week and became one of the most reliable players on the Brisbane list.

 Special Mentions

  • Kate Lutkins return in Round 6 from an ACL injury was nothing short of miraculous. Spending just eight months on the sidelines, the 34-year-old didn’t miss a beat and could well have been the inspiration that sparked the Lions dominant back half of the season.

  • Dee Heslop’s first year as a Lion couldn’t have gone much better. A fringe player at the Suns, the 21-year-old made her Brisbane debut in Round 2 and held her place for the rest of the season, gelling strongly with her back five teammates. With another pre-season under her belt, expect Heslop’s footy to rise to another level in 2023.