The Southern Saints were the quickest out of the blocks, kicking three unanswered goals in the first half.  

As the game wore on, the Blues continued to apply pressure at every contest and managed to work their way back into the game.

Carlton played to its strengths in the second half, keeping the Saints goalless and getting reward in the final term through a Serena Gibbs goal. 

Despite it finishing as a 20-point loss, it wasn’t indicative of the fight produced by the VFLW Blues.

Three things from the game: 

  1. After her early taste of senior football this season, Irish recruit Joanne Doonan displayed skill and composure well beyond her AFL experience.
  2. Abbie McKay continues to show significant development in her game, competing around the ground and providing some class through the midfield.
  3. First-year draftee Serena Gibbs has shown she can cause headaches for her opposition, kicking two goals as a key forward. 

Carlton VFLW Senior Coach Paul Griffiths analyses the performances of the AFLW-listed players who featured in Saturday’s game against the Southern Saints.

5. Abbie McKay 

Overview: Proved dangerous in and around the contest with her ability to find the footy. 
From the coach: “She took a little bit of time to get going but once she did, she gave us real grunt around the stoppages. I thought she was really clean and really played to her strengths which was good.”

18. Katie Harrison 

Overview: Used her athletic ability well to spread and carry into space. 
From the coach: “As we know, Katie is learning the game and playing on the wing which is a structure-specific role. She is just getting her head around those things but when she finds some space and gets the ball in her hands, she’s really hard to stop.”

22. Courtney Jones 

Overview: Consistent attack on the ball, providing run and carry at every opportunity. 
From the coach: “‘Jonesy’ was pulled off just before half-time because she was playing really well and she was the first emergency [on Saturday] for the AFL. When the game was really tough and we were up against it, when the ball got into her hands I felt comfortable.” 

23. Sharnie Whiting 

Overview: Consistently provided an option around the ground with her solid hands. 
From the coach: “She started forward and she’s one when she gets the ball in her hands, she’s a really good user and dangerous. We put her in the back line in the second half and I think she’s given us food for thought, because she’s very flexible. She was dangerous behind the ball.”

26. Joanne Doonan 

Overview: Relentless effort through the middle showcased her natural talent. 
From the coach: “We started her on a wing: she’s been playing AFL as a forward and we decided to throw her on ball in the last quarter. She really showed something so she’s given us something to think about.”

27. Emerson Woods 

Overview:  Persistent in and around the footy, taking advantage of her run down back. 
From the coach: “It was a tough day for defenders but she plugged away and played her role. We then played her on the wing in the last quarter and she really showed she can be dangerous.” 

33. Serena Gibbs 

Overview: Unmatched ability as a tall to attack and defend the loose ball. 
From the coach: “She has got some real danger elements to her game and I thought that she was the one constant in our forward line: she always presented and gave us good contest. That goal in the last quarter showed how dangerous she can be.”

31. Brooke Vernon 

Overview: Key component of defensive setup with her consistent one-on-one efforts. 
From the coach: “She’s such a composed character. She was a little hard on herself because she felt she made some mistakes, she felt like she wasn’t playing at her best in the first half but her mental toughness shone through to be able to turn it around. I thought she was instrumental in the last quarter for us.”