AFLW Round 2 – Carlton v GWS: Life on the road – don’t forget your sunscreen

Carlton v GWS
3.35 pm, Saturday 11 February
Princes Park, Melbourne

 

Towards the end of summer – when cricket has wound down and the AFL season proper is a distant dream – we’ve previously had to resort to getting a footy fix in the form of nonsense news from the AFL clubs: claims that players’ skills and fitness are better than ever, downplaying the seriousness of injuries and outlandish predictions of success. But this year it’s different: we have the AFLW. The excitement of last weekend’s opening round lasted all week and my work days were well spent absorbing news from the AFLW competition, trying to memorise player numbers and looking forward to Round 2.

 

After a difficult first game against Adelaide, the Giants again hit the road to take on the Blues who were coming off an impressive win over Collingwood. The Giants have had a horror run with injuries. Renee Forth and Louise Stephenson are out with long-term knee injuries and Emma Swanson’s hamstring injury kept her on the sidelines for another week. In another blow, Kate Stanton was a late scratching due to illness. But as players go out, others get called up, and this week saw the debut of Ellie Brush (who was busy last week playing in the W-League finals), Mai Nguyen and Stephanie Walker, both of whom were unavailable last week because of injury.

 

In perfect conditions for football – provided you’ve got enough sunscreen to withstand the hot summer sun – and in front of a noisy crowd of almost 8,000, both the Giants and Carlton seemed at more ease on the footy field this week with cleaner possessions and the ability to find more space than in last week’s games. Carlton’s Jakobsson kicked the first goal of the afternoon, but this was met with an immediate reply by the Giants with a clearance from the centre bounce resulting in a goal to Schmidt. Then, linking up to move the ball cleanly down the ground, the Giants followed up with a goal to Barclay. The Giants had pushed aside the disappointment of last week and were here to play.

 

The second quarter saw a relentless Carlton attack that saw the Giants’ defence hold firm except for Vescio breaking free of her arm wrestle with Farrugia to take a strong mark and then kick a goal. In a game that ebbed and flowed, the Giants had the better of the early part of the third quarter with a goal to McWilliams followed by a goal to Dal Pos that was set up brilliantly by Barclay who had bumped her opponent off the ball on the boundary line. Carlton lifted and quick goals to Audley and Vescio saw the scores tied at three quarter time.

 

And this is how we as fans know that the competition is real: that feeling of nervousness that becomes all-consuming during the final break of a close game. For the Giants, Erin McKinnon had proved a revelation in the ruck, winning the hit-outs. Dal Pos used the ball well and was ably supported by Barr and Guest. The Giants had proved the doubters wrong and were poised to snatch the four points from the Blues. Was an upset really possible?

 

But alas, it wasn’t to be. Three unanswered goals to Carlton put the game out of reach of the Giants. Wallett goaled for the Giants to bring the margin back to 13 points and the besieged defenders who had withstood so much fought until the final siren. Their effort was exemplified by Williams who chased hard and landed a strong tackle on the last line of defence to stop a certain goal.

 

The true test of a team is how they respond when the going gets tough, and today we learned a lot about the character of the Giants: they never gave up. This attitude should stand the Giants in good stead for their first home game when they face Fremantle who are also looking for their first win. Emma Swanson will be fit play and Kate Stanton will be back from illness. Bring it on.

 

Carlton: 1.0 2.3 4.4 7.5 (47)
GWS: 2.1 2.2 4.4 5.4 (34)

 

Goals
Carlton: Vescio 2, Audley, Brazzale, Downie, Jakobsson, Pound
GWS: Barclay, Dal Pos, Schmidt, Wallett, McWilliams

Best
Carlton: Davey, Arnell, Jakobsson, Exon
GWS: Dal Pos, Guest, Barr, McKinnon

Umpires: Waddington, Toner, Sommerville

Crowd: 7,884

Votes: 3 Davey (Carlton), 2 Arnell (Carlton), 1 (Dal Pos)

 

 

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About Gill

As a youngster, Gill thought that frequent Richmond premierships were assured, but in the many years since 1980 she realised her folly and distracted herself by crunching numbers at a university. The magnificence of the Tigers’ 2017 season has restored her faith in Richmond and all of humanity.

Comments

  1. Yvette Wroby says:

    Wonderful report, it bought back all the tension of the game. It was the first to be so close in contest and a better scoreline. Reading this I was back there in the stands. Great game.

  2. John Butler says:

    Gill, you’re right about the tension at 3/4 time. It was very much in the balance.

    Thanks for putting up with a cranky old Carlton supporter for the afternoon. :)

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