AFLW Round 1 – Carlton v Collingwood: Football, its people, and its places
Now the thought of going to a game of footy between Carlton and Collingwood would normally appeal to me as much as having a long cold bath.
But this is different, this is the first game of footy in the new AFL Womens League, and the “good wife” and I want to be part of history on this momentous occasion.
We thought the game was to start at 7.30, so we left home at 7.00 and walked to Princes Park. And what a crowd greeted us, literally hundreds maybe thousands of people streaming into the ground. Once inside it was a crush but we managed with great difficulty to walk our way around the ground to a spot in front of the old grandstand and grabbed the last of the few remaining seats.
The feeling inside the ground was fantastic., people of all ages, all sizes, all creeds, soaking up the atmosphere. Everyone seemed to be laughing and bantering and having a great time, in anticipation of the game ahead. And what a night it was, a brilliant Melbourne summer night, ideal for a night game of footy.
The teams burst on to the field to a great roar, through their banners. Unfortunately the Collingwood banner pole broke just as they were about to run through which was a shame, none the less both teams looked great as they completed their warm ups.
Ball up, and both teams threw themselves into the contest in a desperate effort to get the ball clear. I reckon it took five ball ups before a free kick was given and Collingwood were away, and in fact they got the first goal. Jasmine Garner created history with her goal, but that was the only time Collingwood held the lead.
Carlton started to get the ball moving and replied with an excellent goal from the forward pocket and were never headed from that moment on. Both teams were hard at the ball, fierce tackling and not once did I see a player opt out of the contest. As the game progressed Carlton showed they were stronger and played with more skill, especially their marking in packs.
Collingwood to their credit fought the game out to the end but were no match for Carlton who won the game comfortably.
There were some very excited Carlton supporters in front of us who I am sure are hoping the skills of the women might rub off on the men in the coming AFL season.
Walking back to our place with thousands of other people reminded us what it was like when VFL games were played at Princes Park all those years ago. There were lots of comments about the game, who played well and who didn’t all mixed up with laughter. And quite a few people trying to work out where they parked their car in the streets of North Carlton, it was all great fun.
A crowd close to 25,000 saw a great game of footy with Carlton winning by 35 points. Bad luck to another couple thousand or so that couldn’t get into the ground.
Carlton 7-4- 46 Collingwood 1-5- 11.