THE VFLW Blues fell just short at the hands of arch-rival Collingwood, going down by seven points at Victoria Park.
The ladder-leading Collingwood controlled the majority of the Round 13 clash, but it was a spirited and courageous performance by the Blues from start to finish.
In particular, a late comeback was Carlton’s most encouraging sign, with the experienced duo of Darcy Vescio and Natalie Plane leading from the front.
It was an arm-wrestle from the opening bounce, but Carlton’s intensity around the contest and aggression on the ball carrier - spearheaded by Vescio and Chloe Dalton - was fierce. The Blues were able to make it difficult for the Collingwood defenders to generate any kind of run coming out of defence, but they weren’t able to get reward on the scoreboard. Collingwood was able to get back in the game towards the end of the quarter once they were able to get some efficient ball movement, kicking the first goal of the game.
The second term went against the Blues, with Collingwood gaining back control of the contest with their link-up play and locking the ball inside 50: back-to-back goals saw the hosts kick out to a 19-point lead. Madison Prespakis impressed with her contest work and her courage in the air, going back with the flight across half back.
Collingwood continued to have the momentum from the first half, getting an early goal to start the third: however, it was the Blues who finally got some reward for their hard work. Charlotte Wilson got on the scoreboard to kick her first goal of the day, capping off some great link-up play from half back by Chloe Dalton and Marnie Jarvis. Wilson’s opener was quickly followed by Bry Gurr’s first of the day, cutting the deficit to just beyond two goals. Lauren Brazzale’s defensive efforts were crucial in keeping the Blues in the contest, with Gemma Wright’s courage in defence was similarly impressive. In a sour note, a head knock saw Mia-Rae Clifford helped off the ground in the final stages of the term.
The Blues continued to fight hard in the final quarter, but maintained patience in their approach with their ball movement going forward to maximum effect. Vescio, who was a class above all day, won a free kick against former Bri Davey and converted truly from the boundary to cut the margin to eight points. A Chloe Leighton goal - thanks to some outstanding work from a relentless Nat Plane - saw the Blues within two points, but a strong finish to the game saw Collingwood get one back to seal a narrow win.
Carlton 0.3 0.3 2.3 4.4 (28)
Collingwood 1.2 3.4 4.4 5.5 (35)
Carlton: Wilson, Gurr, Vescio, Leighton
Carlton: Dalton, Vescio, Loynes, Brazzale, Parker, Wilson