Carlton’s AFL Women’s coach Damien Keeping says he was proud of his players' ability to not be overawed by the hype surrounding their very first AFLW match.
The Blues cemented their place in history on Friday night after claiming the first victory of the inaugural women's competition, defeating Collingwood 7.4.46 to 1.5.11.
Speaking on RSN 927 on Monday morning, Keeping said the ability of his team to remain focused on the task at hand ensured a dominant performance.
“I think the playing group were really balanced in their approach to it (Friday night’s match),” Keeping said.
“They (players) understood the occasion for what it was and they were able to find that balance between taking that (excitement) in and being ready to perform.
“We (coaching staff) were really pleased with what they did on Friday night.”
The season opener lured a capacity crowd to Ikon Park where over 24,000 football fans filled the Blues’ home to witness history.
The support of the footy world was overwhelming for Keeping, who said “the crowd surprised me".
“We as a group in the AFLW program anticipated the passion (of supporters) … but to actually feel it (passion) like it was there at Ikon Park on Friday night was incredible.
“To get the response that we did from the members and supporters, it was unbelievable.”
Standout performer and fan-favourite Darcy Vescio delighted spectators as well as the coaching staff after she booted four of Carlton’s seven goals.
Her talent and ability to find the big sticks weren't the only things that impressed the Blues’ coach, however.
“It’s the character of Darcy and in fact it’s the character of our group that we’ve been really pleased with,” Keeping said.
“Darcy represents the playing group extremely well.”
President Mark LoGiudice, Captain Lauren Arnell and AFL Chairman Mike Fitzpatrick in the Carlton rooms. (Photo: Supplied)
Despite the lingering excitement of Round 1, Keeping said the Blues have already switched their attention to their next opponent – Greater Western Sydney.
“To their (playing group) credit they’re now really focused on GWS,” he said.
“We’re really focused on performing for the Club and making sure that each time we go out there we’re finding a way to win the game.
“They’re really keen to make sure that they don’t lose focus around the ultimate outcome that we’re searching for.”
Carlton takes on GWS on Saturday 11 February at Ikon Park, with the match kicking off at 5:05pm.