AFLW Round 6 – Freo v Carlton: While You Were Stuck At Work
6pm, Friday. I take up my usual position on the sofa (the balcony end) and scroll through Foxtel Go.
- A) GWS V North in the JLT
- B) Freo v Carlton in the AFLW
The JLT only offers more talk of the GWS juggernaut’s impending run of premiership glory, confusing comebacks and one-sided quarters, and the age-old ‘We’re still working on some things’ from both coaches. I choose the women’s game. Freo are looking to get their first win (after that painstaking draw) and Carlton need all four points to keep their slight hopes of making the big dance alive. Fair dinkum footy, with something to be gained, and something to be lost. That’ll do me just fine.
I like Freo, probably because I called them ‘Twomantle’ for at least a full year when I was little. They’re hot today, as well. I’ve missed the first goal, but Lara Filocamo duly slots the Dockers’ second from a set-shot. The next goal is a real classic. A long mongrel chaos ball floats down to full-forward and bounces towards the pocket. Freo’s Lavelle gathers brilliantly, arches her back, wheels around and handballs to captain Kara Donnellan, who duly slots it with a poised right-foot snap.
It’s hot, 30 degrees or so in Perth. The yellowy grass says it all. Freo are up by 16 at the first change. My eyes drift to the sea of empty blue seats that stand out on the broadcast. The game started at 3pm local time, which I just can’t get my head around. It’s right up there with the umpires wearing the same yellow as the Tigers’ in recent JLT games on the nonsense scale. I’m all for double headers, but is Friday the best day for them? This game should’ve been played on a Saturday afternoon, or a Sunday, rather than as a poorly timed curtain raiser.
As the good people of Perth prepare to finish work for the week, Carlton finally get to work on the field. Darcy Vescio pounces on an unfortunate fumble, palming the ball into her own path and then slotting it on the run. A minute after, Jordan Ivy bursts away from a stoppage and snaps home from 40 out for her first goal of the season. The quality of this clash is definitely up, compared to some of the other games I’ve watched. Both teams are using the ball better, a promising reminder that the quality of AFLW has improved as the season has progressed. And Carlton have a sniff, despite being largely outplayed thus far.
The sides trade another goal apiece before the long break and the Dockers keep control in the third quarter. Despite their dominance, they only end up with a goal and five behinds to show for their efforts, meaning it’s still a close thing heading into the final quarter. Enter Kara Donnellan. The Freo skipper puts the result beyond doubt with a breathtaking display, where she’s everywhere. First, she slots home after accelerating away from her opponent over 40 metres and getting on the end of a handball. She then sets up Stacey Barr with a kick over the top after winning some hard ball. Barr misses, and Donnellan soon misses another shot herself. Despite the inaccuracy, her ability to bob up at the big moments is a big factor in securing a fuss-free finish to the game for the Dockers. Keeping Carlton scoreless in the final term was also critical.
It’s a big win and a great day for the Freo women, who should now avoid the first AFLW wooden spoon. What a shame, though, that so few were able to see it, and to see their jubilation after the final siren. Would there have been harm in playing this, a competitive game for points, after the JLT game? Or playing it on a Saturday, or a Sunday, and at least giving people the chance to get to the ground to see the game live? Some food for thought for future years, I’d hope.
FREMANTLE: 3.0 4.0 5.5 6.7 (43)
CARLTON : 0.2 3.2 4.3 4.3 (27)
Fremantle: Donnellan 2, Barr, Filocamo, Antonio, Houghton
Carlton: Vescio 3, Ivey
Fremantle: Donnellan, Antonio, Janz, Hooker, Filocamo
Carlton: Davey, Vescio, Arnell, Jakobsson
OUR VOTES: Donnellan (Fremantle) 3, Filocamo (Fremantle) 2, Vescio (Carlton) 1
Crowd: Very few
Umpires: Power, Paton, Kirk-Williams