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Oliver Caffrey and Shayne Hope

Lions, Demons guided by their AFLW coaches

Brisbane Lions' Craig Starcevich is one of two inaugural season coaches still at their AFLW clubs. (Darren England/AAP PHOTOS) (AAP)

Craig Starcevich and Mick Stinear are successful survivors.

The men in charge of Sunday's AFLW grand finalists are the only coaches remaining from the inaugural 2017 season.

Starcevich will lead the Brisbane Lions into a fourth grand final while Stinear is guiding Melbourne to a second decider in seven months.

The Lions broke through for their first premiership last year, while the Demons will be searching for their maiden flag at Springfield's Michael Voss Oval.

The foundation clubs have managed to navigate their way through three phases of expansion to be easily the best two teams of this season.

Demons captain Daisy Pearce credits Stinear's leadership for Melbourne keeping and gaining talent in recent years.

"We're just so lucky to have Mick and he means so much to our group," Pearce said last month.

"He's just so good at building relationships, so he's become a really close friend and mentor for so many of our girls.

"I was thinking even through the recent expansion, I dare say if we didn't have Mick we probably would've lost a few more (players), just because of the quality of coach he is (and) his track record for getting the most out of people."

Rivals came hard at the Lions' stars, with league best-and-fairest winner Emily Bates turning down big offers from new clubs Hawthorn and Sydney.

They avoided being decimated like they were during the first round of expansion in 2018, losing the likes of Kaitlyn Ashmore, Tahlia Randall, Sabrina Frederick and Kate McCarthy.

Star midfielder Ally Anderson, who was named league best-and-fairest on Tuesday night, praised Starcevich's influence at the Lions.

"He's such an incredible human being," Anderson told reporters this week.

"He's such a great coach and we're so lucky to have the stability with him over the last seven years and to be able to develop as a team under his guidance.

"He's always asking how you are and is interested in your life outside of footy as well, it's not all footy for him."

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