CARLTON has held off a fast-finishing Western Bulldogs to record its second win of the 2020 AFLW season.
Young Blues Georgia Gee and Maddy Prespakis were the difference on the day, putting on a masterclass and demonstrating that the future is indeed bright at Ikon Park.
It was a near-perfect start for the Blues at Whitten Oval, kicking off the clash with three unanswered goals in enemy territory. Georgia Gee was the first to stake her claim, helped by a handy ground ball get from Tayla Harris. The next was perhaps the most impressive, with Lauren Brazzale liking her chances from the 50 to slot one of the best goals of the day. But the highlight of the term belonged to Lucy McEvoy, drifting forward late in the term to slot her first-ever AFLW goal. The Bulldogs answered towards the end of the quarter, but it was the Blues with a 13-point lead heading into the second term.
The second term kicked off with a tight contest from the outset, the Bulldogs not wanting to be bullied on their home deck. It was an even contest in attack, with both sides finishing the quarter on 12 inside 50s. The Bulldogs finally broke the spell late in the term, and wayward kicks from the Blues left them goalless for the term. Vaomua Laloifi was in form in the backline, continually harassing the opposition to finish the term on 11 disposals and four marks for her defensive efforts. Maddy Prespakis was at her rollicking best yet again, notching 12 disposals by the end of the half.
The Blues came out firing in the second half, regaining the dominance over the play. In what quickly became a breakout game for the young blue, Gee was unstoppable in attack. The speedster notched the Blues' first goal of the quarter and her second of the day with a crafty soccer off the ground. Not to be outdone, Harris slotted her own major with the signature kick we know and love. The Bulldogs continued to lead the clearance count, but the tireless efforts of the Blues defence led by co-captain Kerryn Harrington meant their attack was quelled. Gab Pound was working overtime in the backline, finishing the quarter on 15 disposals.
With the support of the wind in the last quarter, the Dogs came out flying and looking to steal the victory from the Blues. After some shaky moments, the Blues' defenders stood strong under a relentless attack from the Bulldogs with Harrington and Laloifi continuing to add a touch of class. Breann Moody was influential in the middle of the ground, using her powerful kick to drive the Blues forward. Goals to Darcy Vescio and Nic Stevens gave the team some much-needed breathing space, while Georgia Gee's third goal of the day sealed the victory for the Blues.
Moment of the match:
With the Blues finding their form in attack against the Bulldogs, there were many standout moments at Whitten Oval, but there’s just something about that first AFLW goal. Making a name for herself through the centre, Lucy McEvoy didn’t have to wait long for her first major. The Youngster drifted forward late in the first term to clunk a handy mark, with the goal never in doubt. Blues came from across the ground get around McEvoy who won’t soon forget the milestone.
Three things from the game:
- Carlton’s 2019 draft class is paying dividends. With Laloifi, McEvoy and Grace Egan all three games into their AFLW careers, the nerves are gone and the talent is showing through. Laloifi was a pillar in defence throughout the day, finishing the match with 13 disposals and six contested possessions.
- Maddy Prespakis once again demonstrated just what a classy player she is. Shaking off another week of attention from the opposition midfielders, Prespakis dominated around the contest and sparked the Blues into action on several occasions. Prespakis finished the day with 24 disposals, nine inside 50s and four tackles.
- It was Georgia Gee's day at Whitten Oval. Highly rated internally, the silky forward used her speed and accurate kicking to help the Blues throughout the game. While Gee's three goals were a highlight, her offensive pressure helped the Blues lock the ball inside the forward 50m throughout the day.
WESTERN BULLDOGS 1.0 2.3 2.3 4.6 (30)
CARLTON 3.1 3.1 5.3 8.3 (51)
Western Bulldogs: Toogood, Georgostathis, McLeod, Lamb
Carlton: Gee 3, Brazzale, McEvoy, Harris, Vescio, Stevens
Carlton: Prespakis, McEvoy, Laloifi, Harris, Gee, Egan, Vescio
Carlton: Wilson (illness) replaced in selected side by Vernon
Official crowd: TBC at VU Whitten Oval