THE BLUES are heading to the Semi-Finals, after an astounding win against their opposition in the Williamstown Seagulls.
Despite initially falling behind in the first half, the Blues’ determination secured their spot in the second week of finals. A tremendous performance in the third quarter allowed Carlton to take both the lead and control of the game until the final siren.
A collective effort from the team takes the Blues a week deeper into finals, and they will now face the Port Melbourne Borough this Sunday at ETU Stadium.
Perfect conditions welcomed the teams for the beginning of the game. It was stoppage after stoppage with the pressure high for the first few minutes, as the ball was locked away by both sides. It was Williamstown who made the first move of the game, with a kick right in front leading to an easy goal. Christina Bernardi was receiving plenty of attention from the opposition early after her form in the previous weeks, and the footy was moving end to end with both sides trying to control the pace of the game. Kasey Lennox was marking well early on, but the Seagulls kept pushing forward managing five behinds for the remainder of the quarter.
No score in the first term meant the Blues had to try to hit the scoreboard early. Isabelle Khoury, Ashlee Thorneycroft, and Amelia Klingebeil were gathering plenty of disposals, helping out through the middle of the ground and down the wings. A rushed behind was the Blues’ first score for the day as the intensity began to lift. Maddie Di Cosmo was clean around stoppages creating opportunities for pickups and clearances. Carlton was moving the ball nicely from each side of the ground and managed four inside 50s in a row. This gave Esther Honybun a chance to kick off the ground in the goal square and slot the team’s first major. The sun was beginning to set, and play was now under the lights at DSV Stadium for the match's second half.
Emily Hurley and Chloe Bain dominated the hit outs in the previous quarters in the ruck, and the disposal count was up from the first quarter. There was a significant shift in the atmosphere around the game as the Blues started to look dangerous. Octavia Di Donto was transitioning well through the middle and down back as both teams struggled to score. Just past the halfway mark for the quarter, Eliza Wood was awarded a free kick just inside the 50-meter mark. Bernardi drove forward to receive a mark from an excellent kick by Wood, and she went back and slotted a goal. This was Carlton’s first-time leading for the game and they now seemed to be buoyed by momentum. Georgia Tait extended the lead for the team with a goal just before the siren.
The rain poured in the second half, keeping the Seagulls scoreless in the third quarter, which gave the Blues an eight-point lead. Thorneycroft managed a behind, but the rain was making conditions difficult for both sides. Khoury was dominating the stats, kicking inside 50 and delivering plenty of handballs. The ball was moving messily between each side as the footy got slippery. The Blues were chipping away at the clock as time was running down. In the final two minutes, Williamstown lifted to score a late goal, but there wasn’t going to be enough time to catch Carlton – who were victorious when the final siren sounded. The Blues’ win sees them advance to the VFLW semi-finals for the first time.
WILLIAMSTOWN 1.5 1.6 1.6 2.6 (18)
CARLTON 0.0 1.2 3.2 3. 4 (22)
Goals: Bernardi, Honybun, Tait
Best: Bain, Di Cosmo, Khoury, Bernardi, Tait, Thorneycroft, Lennox