THE VFLW Blues’ most successful season to date has come to a close over the weekend, after suffering a heartbreaking one-point loss at the hands of Port Melbourne.
The Blues came out of the blocks full of energy after their massive win the previous week against the Seagulls.
Having an even record this season with Port Melbourne, with one win and one loss, the Blues had to draw on the energy of each other and execute well.
However, constant lead changes in the final quarter saw the intensity rise, and time became the Blues’ biggest enemy.
A free kick inside 50 to Christina Bernardi got the ball rolling, slotting through the first goal for the game within a minute. Maddie Di Cosmo was dominant on the wings, chasing stray kicks and making sure the Blues’ controlled the possession. Amelia Klingbeil was kicking well, assisting with moving the ball through the middle of the ground. Plenty of inside 50 play gave the team plenty of scoring chances, but they only managed three behinds, failing to capitalise on their opportunities. The work of the Carlton defence kept Port Melbourne scoreless for the quarter.
Bry Gurr and Gen Lawson-Tavern worked hand in hand down back to begin the quarter, handballing successfully to clear space and opposition players. Play inside the Blues’ inside 50 was swarmed by the Borough, desperate to prevent further scoring. Eliza Wood tried tirelessly to move the ball towards the big sticks, but no score was converted. Behinds from Ashlee Thorneycroft and Bernardi edged the Blues out slightly as the footy was moved up and down the ground. A goal came late in the quarter for Port Melbourne, closing Carlton’s lead to 4 points going into the main break.
It's been goal for goal here in this nail biting final, as Emily Hurley sails through another goal to for @carltonfc_w 🙃— VFL / VFLW (@VFL) July 16, 2023
Watch the 2023 rebel VFLW Finals Series live and free on the AFL website and AFL Live Official App: https://t.co/3V9lTkSGTM pic.twitter.com/fDCxQCw4uO
Attempting to protect their lead at all costs, the Blues knew they had to move quickly, but an early goal from the Borough saw the lead change for the first time. A couple of rushed behinds pushed the lead out, but a strong mark from Eliza Wood came in handy as she kicked her first. Another goal to the opposition swapped the lead once again, but it was Emily Hurley’s turn next for a goal, once again giving the lead to the Blues in the 15th minute of the third term, giving Carlton a narrow one-point lead heading into the final quarter.
Scrambling from both teams saw the ball moving back and forth between the arcs, with neither side able to lock down the ball. The first few behind went the opposition's way before they made the first move with a goal. Another lead change occurred as the Blues now trailed, but Klingbeil stepped up and responded with her first just minutes later. A final goal from Port Melbourne gave them a more comfortable lead, but Klingbeil once more answered the calls of her team and slotted her second. Now trailing by 2-points, Bernardi kicked a behind. The clock wasn’t on Carlton’s side and ran out, leaving Port Melbourne victorious.
A history-making season for now has come to a close and the VFLW Blues look forward to the upcoming best-and-fairest awards.
PORT MELBOURNE 0.0 1.1 3.4 5.7 (37)
CARLTON 1.3 1.5 3.5 5.6 (36)
Goals: Klingbeil 2, Bernardi, Hurley, Wood.