Main content

AFLW season review

Carlton goals | AFLW Round 7 Watch all of Carlton's goals from the Round 7 clash against Brisbane.


The Blues justified the hype surrounding the inaugural AFL Women's season, defeating Collingwood on a magical opening night of the competition in front of a capacity crowd at Ikon Park.

It kick-started the early momentum for Carlton, which won its first two games before a narrow loss away to eventual grand-finalist Adelaide.

Injuries were to prove costly for the Blues as the season progressed, with key players Bri Davey, Nat Exon, Natalie Plane, Danielle Hardiman and Sarah Last missing games.

While the Blues remained undefeated at home in 2017, their inability to win on the road ultimately proved their downfall.


Round 1 vs Collingwood - WIN (35 points)

A fairytale opening night in front of a full crowd of 24,500 at Ikon Park, along with a further estimated 2,000 who were denied entry into the game due to the full venue. Carlton’s marquee players Bri Davey (26 disposals, three marks, seven rebound 50s) and Darcy Vescio (four goals, 13 disposals) led with aplomb, with Cranbourne talent Bianca Jakobsson also starring with 17 disposals and five marks.

Best players: Bri Davey, Darcy Vescio, Bianca Jakobsson

Carlton's first-ever AFLW win will go down in the history books for all the right reasons. (Photo:AFL Media)

Round 2 vs GWS Giants - WIN (13 points)

Back at Ikon Park for its second match at home, Carlton had to fight to overcome a plucky GWS. The Giants kept the Blues honest for three quarters before the home side kicked three majors to the opposition’s one in the final term to run out Round 2 winners. Vescio again hit the scoreboard with two goals, while Davey led the disposals with 20 and four marks. Danielle Hardiman and Shae Audley also impressed.

Best players: Bri Davey, Shae Audley, Darcy Vescio

Kate Shierlaw is showered with Gatorade after a win on debut. (Photo: AFL Media)

Round 3 vs Adelaide - LOSS (3 points)

In the Club’s first interstate trip of the season and going in with good form, the Blues served it up to the Crows to lead at every break in a low-scoring affair. Adelaide stepped up a gear in the final term to kick the quarter's sole goal and keep the Blues scoreless, claiming the four points. An injury-hampered Davey was again among the best for the Blues with 23 disposals, while Hardiman impressed for the second week running.

Best players: Bri Davey, Danielle Hardiman, Lauren Arnell

The Blues and Crows got physical in their top-of-the-table clash in Round 3. (Photo: AFL Media)

Round 4 vs Melbourne - LOSS (6 points)

Another fixture away from home, the Blues ventured to Casey Fields and found themselves faced with a determined Melbourne outfit. Trailing by 19 points at the last break, the Blues slammed on three goals to tie the scores up but a long ball and an unlucky bounce towards goal with seconds to play resulted in a Melbourne win.

Best players: Bella Ayre, Sarah Hosking, Shae Audley

Coach Damien Keeping revs up his players at three-quarter time against Melbourne. (Photo: AFL Media)

Round 5 vs Western Bulldogs - WIN (6 points)

In a game that was Carlton’s highest score of the season, the Blues held off the fast-finishing Bulldogs, who got the jump early in the match. With a 17-point lead at the last change, the Dogs came hard in the last term, outscoring the Blues three goals to one. Fortunately for Carlton, its sole final-quarter goal was enough for victory. Tilly Lucas-Rodd led the disposals with 17 and six marks, earning an AFLW Rising Star nomination alongside forward Bella Ayre, who booted two classy goals.

Best players: Darcy Vescio, Tilly Lucas-Rodd, Bella Ayre

Bella Ayre's immense talent was on display against the Bulldogs in Round 5. (Photo: AFL Media)

Round 6 vs Fremantle - LOSS (16 points)

Heading out west in search of victory against the winless Dockers, the Blues struggled in front of the WA crowd in a game that coach Damien Keeping described as “tough away from home”, lamenting the slow start. The Blues were much better after the goalless opening term, but Fremantle never relinquished the momentum. Darcy Vescio (three goals, seven disposals) starred for the Blues with another bag of goals.

Best players: Darcy Vescio, Katie Loynes, Shae Audley

The Blues are left to ponder what could have been against the Dockers. (Photo: AFL Media)

Round 7 vs Brisbane Lions - DRAW

Back at Ikon Park for the final game of the season, Carlton was determined to throw everything at the undefeated Brisbane Lions in what was a low-scoring first half. Down by 24 points with nine minutes to play in the final quarter, the Blues rallied to level the scoreboard in the final seconds and force a draw. Lauren Arnell (16 disposals, six tackles, one goal) and Bri Davey (15 disposals, four tackles, six marks) led the way for the Blues, while Jordan Ivey impressed with five tackles from 10 disposals.

Best players: Lauren Arnell, Bri Davey, Jordan Ivey

Nothing could separate the Blues and Lions in Round 7. (Photo: AFL Media)


The Carlton AFLW best-and-fairest count will be a memorable occasion and would appear to be a two-player race between marquees Darcy Vescio and Bri Davey.

Vescio kicked the most goals of any player in the competition with 14, having averaged two a game. She topped the AFLW goalscoring tally ahead of Adelaide’s Sarah Perkins (11).

Former Matildas goalkeeper Davey has been described by her coach Damien Keeping as “the ultimate professional”, and well and truly lived up that billing despite playing the latter half of the season under duress.

In her six games, Davey averaged 19 disposals and just under four marks, patrolling the back half in the navy blue and often going forward to devastating effect.


AFLW coach Damien Keeping was full of praise for his players upon reflection in Sunday’s press conference following the draw with the Brisbane Lions, highlighting the team’s ability to play with freedom and finish the season well.

The seasons from Darcy Vescio and Bri Davey have been well documented but the continued fight from the likes of Sarah Hosking, Tilly Lucas-Rodd, Shae Audley and Katie Loynes under the leadership of captain Lauren Arnell cannot be understated.

Injuries hit the Blues' defence hard, with the sidelined Danielle Hardiman, Natalie Plane and Sarah Last described by Keeping as “the making of a starting back line”.

The development of key forwards Kate Shierlaw and Bella Ayre gives further cause for optimism, while the versatility of Bianca Jakobsson to play a variety of roles provides Keeping with much flexibility.

A strong first season gives both the fans and the Club confidence looking ahead to next season.