AFL

Blues dominate Magpies in AFL Women’s opener

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Carlton have dominated the first-ever AFL Women’s match, defeating Collingwood by 35 points in front of a capacity crowd at Ikon Park.

It was a historic night in so many ways for the AFL, who were forced to lock the gates after nearly 25,000 people packed in to the former AFL venue in the inner-Melbourne suburb of Carlton.

In extraordinary scenes, AFL chief executive Giillon McLachlan went outside the ground to apologise to thousands of fans who couldn’t fit in after police determined that capacity had been reached.

Those who did get in were treated to a cracking contest, with plenty of physicality and great performances from Carlton pair Darcy Vescio and Bree Davey, who dominated at either and of the park as the Blues won 7.4 (46) to the Magpies’ 1.5 (11)

Vescio finished with four of the Blues’ seven goals, while the former Matlidas goalkeeper Davey was superb controlling play across half back, finishing with 15 kicks and 11 handpasses in a best on ground performance.

The honour of kicking the first goal of the new competition fell to Collingwood’s Jasmine Garner, who backed into a pack to take a chest mark 20m out. She kicked truly to put herself in the history books seven minutes into the match. Unfortunately for the Pies, it was their only goal for the night.

Carlton quickly took control of the game, spurred by two goals from Vescio and another from skipper Lauren Arnell, and had a ten-point lead at the first break.

The ball bounced between the respective half-back lines for much of the second term, with neither side able to consistently pick out targets up forward. It took until late in the quarter for the first goal to arrive and it came via a Blues counter-attack which was set-up when Sarah Last burst through two tackles to pump it forward to Isabella Ayre, whose handpass found Vescio for her third goal.

The closest Collingwood got to a second-quarter goal was when Jess Cameron hit the post as their 10 inside 50s yielded just two points and they confronted a 15-point half time deficit.

The third quarter followed the same pattern as the second with Collingwood winning plenty of the ball but the Carlton defence cutting off every foray forward. Davey was particularly dominant, working well with Lauren Brazzale to set up the Blues’ attacks and Davey was rewarded when she was on the end of a chain of handpasses to score the crucial first goal of the second half.

Then with less than a minute left before three-quarter time, Vescio again got one-on one with her opponent, and created enough space to snap her fourth and put the Blues 26 points up.

The tempo eventually relented in the final term as the frenetic pace of the early part of the game took its toll. Collingwood’s injury toll mounted, but their score didn’t and the Blues were able to ice the game with the majority of possession the last term. Bianca Jakobssen capped an excellent game with a late goal to make it a 35-point margin.

The Pies were best served by Sarah Darcy, who worked hard to create a target around the ground and ended up with 14 touches and three marks. Amelia Barden also had 14 possessions, while Brittany Bonnici and Tara Morgan had eight tackles each, a stat the Pies dominated 83 to 59.

They also led the inside 50s 27-25 but really weren’t in the contest after quarter time. Their high-profiel singing Moana Hope had a night to forget, with just four touches and a solitary point.

Collingwood next play Melbourne at Olympic Park Oval next Saturday night, while the Blues will look to capitalise on their good start when they host GWS Giants earlier the same night.

Carlton 7.4 (46)

Collingwood 1.5 (11)

Goals:

Carlton: Vescio 4, Arnell, Davey, Jakobsson

Collingwood: Garner

Best:

Carlton: Vescio, Davey, Arnell, Jakobssen, Brazzale, Exon

Collingwood: Darcy, Edwards, Bonnici, Cameron

Crowd: Approx 25,000

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