At a pivotal moment in the 2023 NAB AFLW Grand Final, Dakota Davidson stepped up after an emotional week

Dakota Davidson and Isabel Dawes celebrate a goal during the 2023 NAB AFLW Grand Final between North Melbourne and Brisbane at Ikon Park on December 3, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

BRISBANE was down.

It had conceded the final two goals of the third quarter and coughed up the lead, and it was North Melbourne’s game for the taking.

KANGAROOS v LIONS Full Grand Final match coverage and stats

But emerging star Belle Dawes had other ideas.

Snatching up a loose ball close to the boundary in the attacking half, Dawes twisted out of the Roos’ clutches, spun 360 degrees and kicked the ball to the top of the 50m arc to find none other than Dakota Davidson waiting to take a neat contested mark.

Davidson, who had come into the game under a significant injury cloud, had been relatively unsighted to that point in the game.

A heavily strapped left knee had not impeded her ability to move around the ground, but the way Brisbane chose to move the ball forward simply had not let her work into the game and take charge.

But when the moment mattered, she stepped up.

Forty metres from goal and with the weight of the world on her shoulders, Davidson coolly walked back and slotted the set shot to put her side back within one point.

Brisbane’s Dakota Davidson celebrates a goal against North Melbourne in the 2023 NAB AFLW Grand Final. Picture: AFL Photos

It was the celebration that followed, with Dawes leaping into Davidson’s arms, that was an indicator that Brisbane was ready to get the job done.

The arm wrestle that dominated most of the game returned, but with an increased vigour from the Lions, and six minutes later it was Davidson once again lining up for the set shot.

This time she put Brisbane back into the lead, and from there the Lions never looked back.