ON THE board for season 2022.
Carlton prevailed over Geelong in a high-intensity contest at GMHBA Stadium, leading from the outset to come away with a 14-point victory.
Led by the performances of Kerryn Harrington and Maddy Prespakis, it was the perfect response to last week's season opener, squaring the ledger after two rounds.
From the outset at GMHBA Stadium, the game was played at a frenetic pace by 41 of the 42 players: then there was Kerryn Harrington. The Carlton skipper was the cool head in defence which the Game Changers needed, as the Cats looked to get on the front foot at their home ground. With 10 disposals and four intercepts in the first term, Harrington and the Blues’ backline were crucial in the side holding a narrow four-point lead at the first change, courtesy of Elise O’Dea’s opener. Midfield duo Abbie McKay and Maddy Prespakis picked up from where they left off the week prior, accumulating nine disposals each in the first 15 minutes, while Maddy Guerin impressed with her work around the contest (three clearances).
Thanks to Brea Moody’s good work in the middle of the ground, the Blues began the second term on the front foot, but two uncharacteristic misses from Nicola Stevens meant the Game Changers couldn’t take full advantage. The Cats levelled the scores after another bout of ill discipline cost the Blues in the form of a 50-metre penalty, as a vocal home crowd looked to lift their side heading into the main change. However, it was very much a case of third time lucky for Stevens, who marked and converted in customary fashion after the Blues sprung a counter attack. On familiar ground, former Geelong Falcon Lucy McEvoy got going in quarter two, ending the half with 14 disposals.
The Game Changers very nearly had the perfect start when a flying shot from Georgia Gee was rushed through for a behind, but they got the result they were looking for not long after. Backing up from last week, Courtney Jones narrowly converted from a set shot to give the Blues a two-goal lead in a low-scoring affair. Jess Dal Pos’ transition running on the wing was crucial for the Blues looking to go from end to end. Geelong had the advantage in terms of their aerial prowess (9-2 contested marks), but Carlton’s ability to dominate uncontested possessions (+62 in three quarters) was what had them in the ascendancy at the final change.
As they had all night, Carlton’s experienced heads ensured that the Blues would come away from the Cattery with all four points. Despite Phoebe McWilliams bringing the margin back to seven points, a Georgia Gee goal was the perfect response for the Game Changers, who held the Cats at an arm’s length from that point on. It was a career-best disposal tally for Maddy Prespakis, who collected a career-high 29 disposals - and the unofficial Prespakis Cup - in yet another stellar showing.
Three things we learned
- Last week, the game was lost when the Blues were unable to curtail the Magpies’ uncontested ball dominance. This week, it was the complete reverse, and the catalyst for Carlton taking home the four points. The Game Changers ended the game with 75 more uncontested possessions and 39 more uncontested marks than the Cats.
- The class rises above. At half time, the stats sheet said that Georgia Gee had one disposal to her name. Constantly buzzing around the forward line, Gee would ultimately end the game with 16 disposals, a team-high five score involvements and the sealing goal.
- It feels like a cop out to put Kerryn Harrington’s brilliance in ‘three things we learned’, because it’s something we’ve known about for a very long time. However, it needs acknowledging, and it was one of the captain’s finest performances in Navy Blue. The stats sheet says it all: 23 disposals at 100 per cent efficiency, seven intercepts and a team-high 391 metres gained. It was just about faultless from the skipper.
Moment of the match
Maddy Prespakis loves playing Geelong. And it had that extra bit of box office with younger sister Georgie on the other side.
Before tonight, Prespakis’ most disposals in a game was 28, which came against the Cats two years ago. Tonight, she went one better with 29, and she walked off with the bragging rights and an actual, physical Prespakis Cup.
You’ve got to love that.
GEELONG 0.2 1.3 1.5 2.5 (17)
CARLTON 1.0 2.2 3.4 4.7 (31)
Carlton: Gee, Jones, O’Dea, Stevens
Carlton: Harrington, Prespakis, McEvoy, Moody, Pound, McKay, Gee