Shaleise shines as Lions win on official debut
SHALEISE Law got her first taste of action in a Brisbane Lions jersey at the weekend, when her side hosted the GWS Giants at Coorparoo's Giffin Park.
On a wet and windy day in Brisbane's south-east, the hosts adapted to the conditions better than their interstate visitors on the way to a 3.10 (28) to 2.0 (12) win in front of more than 1,000 spectators.
It was Law's pace and ability to win the ball on the outside that led coach Craig Starcevich and his team to recruit the small forward with pick number 95 in last year's inaugural AFLW draft.
"She's got lightning speed and good agility,” Starcevich said.
"But it was her defensive work in the forward line that caught our attention as much as her attacking prowess.
"To have a small forward that can harass the opposition is pretty valuable.”
Law's defensive nous was most required in Saturday's win at Coorparoo, with the slippery conditions making it difficult to win clean possession and break away from the contest, as is her speciality.
"(Shaleise) is probably better in the dry, but we were happy with her pressure at the contest, she was creating opportunities by locking the ball in the forward 50,” Starcevich said.
"Her main role down there is first and foremost if it hits the deck get after it, and from that angle she was good.”
In a low-scoring affair, Starcevich felt the conditions hindered what otherwise promised to be a highly skilful contest.
"It was a bit of an arm wrestle for a long time, the scoreboard probably didn't reflect the quality of the stuff that was going on,” Starcevich said.
"It was the first time this summer our players had experienced those conditions, and we were really happy with our endeavour and competitiveness.
"All the things we wanted to tick off in a practice game, (we did).
"I think it's given the players some confidence in their preparation after what's been a hard slog through some brutal weather.”
Ahead of the Lions' opening round clash against Melbourne Demons on February 5, Starcevich hailed his side's want to improve as proof they are ready for this, a new era of women's Australian football.
"We have an elite group that has been training together for a while, and you have a group of people that are adept but also always looking to improve,” Starcevich said.
"The step up from club footy is significant, but being being able to trust everyone on the ground to perform the basic skills is a big thing.
"Without being disrespectful, there will be some new people in club teams that don't have that experience. Here you know what the person up the ground is going to bring to the table.”
The Lions' first home fixture is against traditional rivals Collingwood at South Pine Sports Complex on Saturday, February 18.