THE HEART of Carlton returned to the field in with a bang, kicking the sealer and getting the win at home.

Darcy Vescio made their long-awaited return to Carlton’s VFLW side in the Round 5 victory over Port Melbourne.

Vescio was one of the standout players for the Blues on the day using their game smarts and vision down the field.

The pure joy was hard to miss as the 30-year-old played with all their heart, excited to be back in the Navy Blue. They ended the game with 15 disposals, six marks, two tackles and a goal for the ages.

Vescio has been a part of Carlton’s AFLW program since its inception but hasn’t taken part in the VFLW side since 2019. Now they’re excited to be back and put everything into every contest.

“I think the issue with AFLW is you just don’t have the opportunity to play for long enough, so to be able to come in and still play games and feel like you’re building and working on your own game is really good,” Vescio said.

A powerful second quarter by the Blues, leading by 15 points at half time, pushed the Borough to their limit and the Blues took full advantage.


Carlton has produced consistent performances over the last few weeks but were unable to reflect their hard work on the scoreboard.

This time round, Carlton stuck to their structures and maintained them under pressure, rewarding their efforts by kicking truly.

The Blues wanted to continue that throughout the rest of the game, knowing they had the ability to win, and they did so by producing a strong four-quarter performance.

“In the second quarter we were a bit more bold with our movement,” they said.

“Using the open side and really attacking that way, we just had more control that quarter.

“It’s fun when you’re playing footy and just able to create from that.

“It’s good to have a quarter where you feel like you’re in control, but obviously footy’s more than one quarter so you never know when other teams are gonna surge back.”

Port Melbourne began to have their resurgence in the fourth quarter, now putting the pressure on Carlton to score.

Carlton had everything thrown at them in the fourth quarter, but they persevered and maintained their composure thanks to the likes of Vescio who was the main cog in driving their side forward.

“We knew the game was on the line and they (Port Melbourne) were gonna try and get the ball forward,” Vescio said.

“I think we did well trying to keep composure and not let our structures fall away.

"It was a pretty mature set-up just trying to get back to structure and everything like that.”

“It does feel a little bit frantic when a team’s coming back when you’ve been up, but I thought it was really good that we were able to stick to what we wanted to do from the start of the game."

The Borough gave the game their all, but a goal from Vescio after the siren was the sealer as the Blues took the win by eight points.

Seeing everyone run towards them after the goal, Vescio couldn’t help but celebrate not only the goal but the victory itself. All the smiles and everyone running towards each other with open arms is something Vescio will never forget.

“It was really nice, we got pretty lucky in the end there,” they said.

“Port took a pretty amazing specky so I thought we were quite lucky but Mimi (Hill) did really well to stay composed and eat up the clock. I was then lucky to get a free in the end, just waited until the siren went to take the pressure off and then kicked it through.”

Carlton named 10 AFLW-listed players for the VFLW game day squad last weekend. This is a trend throughout the season to continue the players' growth and development going into the next AFLW season, while also showcasing their experience to build on the younger VFLW talent.

Both a VFLW and AFLW player, Vescio has witnessed the growth of both programs first-hand and can’t believe how well the two programs are gelling together.

“It was awesome, the team’s been great. I’ve been training with them for a few weeks now and the programs are super well run so it’s nice to celebrate together. I feel like it’s two programs coming together at the moment which has been awesome,” they said.

Carlton will take on the Western Bulldogs at Whitten Oval on Sunday 28 April at 11 am.