There were stunning goals, acts of desperation and pieces of individual brilliance.
In the end, Brisbane blew the premiership race wide open, claiming a thrilling qualifying final win over Adelaide at Norwood Oval on Saturday.
After a hot start, the Lions were largely dominated in the second and third quarters, but silenced the home Crows crowd after an exhilarating final term to seal a 6.3 (39) to 5.7 (37) victory and, crucially, a home preliminary final.
It's an impressive turnaround for Brisbane, considering it had to win last week to merely make the top four following the shock loss to St Kilda in round nine.
The Lions are suddenly primed to roar towards a second flag, courtesy of an eye-catching match from Orla O’Dwyer (two goals, nine tackles), supported by the ever-reliable Ally Anderson (a goal and 16 disposals) and the unrelenting Courtney Hodder, who heaped on pressure from the opening bounce.
It was a cruel dose of deja vu for the Crows, who lost to Brisbane in a similar fashion during the home and away season when they went down by three points just three weeks ago in round eight.
Despite all of Adelaide's dominance over AFLW history, the Lions continue to prove an Achilles heel for the three-time premiers, with Saturday's new chapter in the storied rivalry taking the all-time ledger to 8-3 in their favour.
Dangerous Crows forward Eloise Jones produced a career-best performance with a quartet of exciting goals, while the home side also dominated possession, with usual suspects Ebony Marinoff, Anne Hatchard and Chelsea Randall prolific.
But the Lions ultimately held their nerve in the final term, kicking the only goal of the quarter.
The away side dominated early – their hunger evident in the stark 31-15 tackle count by the first break – before Adelaide started to find its groove in the second stanza.
The boisterous home crowd came alive, and three straight kicks – including one right on the half-time siren from Niamh Kelly – put the hosts in front.
The Crows largely dominated the second and third quarters, but Brisbane's defence held up late, sealing a famous finals win bookended by both a strong start and finish.
Keeping up with Jones
Eloise Jones' first major was a simple goalsquare conversion from a free kick, but her second brought the house down. The Crows desperately needed some inspiration after being bullied early, and Jones made the most of a turnover at half-forward, speeding away and booting for goal right on the 50m mark. The expertly directed kick rolled through, and suddenly it was game on. She finished with a career-high four goals, proving an unstoppable forward-line force.
Luck of the Irish
Irishwoman Orla O'Dwyer produced an early contender for goal of the finals in the first quarter, when she collected the ball on the boundary about 30m out, wheeled onto her left and kicked for home. The goal umpire barely moved, and the parochial Crows crowd fell silent. A play reminiscent of a piece of Eddie Betts brilliance, O'Dwyer would be within her rights to claim the Norwood patch of turf as 'Orla's pocket'. At the end of the second term, it was the Crows' own Irishwoman, Niamh Kelly, matching it with an equally exciting moment. As the seconds ticked down to half-time, the speedy Kelly found space in the forward 50 and finished with class, scoring right as the main-break siren sounded.
The Lions have the week off before hosting a huge preliminary final. Adelaide will host the winner of the Gold Coast-Sydney elimination final.
ADELAIDE 1.0 4.0 5.3 5.7 (37)
BRISBANE 2.3 3.3 5.3 6.3 (39)
Adelaide: Jones 4, Kelly
Brisbane: O'Dwyer 2, Davidson 2, Smith, Anderson
Adelaide: Jones, Marinoff, Hatchard, Randall, Biddell
Brisbane: O'Dwyer, Anderson, Hodder, Dawes, Davidson, Ellenger
Crowd: TBC at Norwood Oval