AFLW Round 3 – Carlton v Brisbane: This is real footy

Fans of AFLW across Australia are celebrating the introduction of AFLXcrement this weekend. While uninterested players and crowds saw the introduction of a variant of footy that was invented for the sake of inventing something, the AFLW proved that a competition with a real purpose will be met with considerable interest from players and the community, all without naming goals after frozen tubes of flavoured water.


In the pursuit of real footy, I and about 6,200 others were at Princes Park on a beautiful summer evening to see Carlton play Brisbane. I headed to the Almanac wing (that’s what it’s called right?) to meet like-minded souls, settle down on the uncomfortable wooden seats and laugh at the brutal response to AFLX on Twitter. The game promises intrigue – Carlton are undefeated but missing captain Brianna Davey, while last year’s grand finalist Brisbane need a win to be in finals contention. I have no great allegiance to either team but decide to put my barracking efforts behind the Lions for the night.


With the game underway, it’s clear that both teams have ignored the AFL’s infamous memo on the ladylike way to play footy. Instead, they play on their own terms with an emphasis on defence that they are both renowned for. The Lions have most of the ball but, because of Carlton’s ability to rebound from deep in defence, we don’t see a goal until three minutes to go in the first half.


What is missing in a cursory look at the half time score (1.2 to 0.2) is an understanding of the intensity of the game. With neither team willing to give an inch, we were treated to an arm wrestle that was a stark contrast to the high scoring AFLX. A goal at Princes Park meant so much more than a goal in the AFLX. When Kaitlyn Ashmore kicked truly for Brisbane, the relief was palpable, unlike the whatevs that met the many AFLX goals.


With the sun well and truly set, we’re under lights for the second half, and as Craig Starcevich pointed out in the post-game interviews, it’s a bit too dark to see clearly. Nevertheless, play begins and the game has opened up. An early goal to Jess Wuetschner gives Brisbane a 12 point lead and this brings confidence and a willingness to be daring. The self-belief pays off for Brisbane and Britanny Gibson goals soon after.


Carlton’s first goal comes in the third quarter and is kicked by Maddison Gay. This releases pent-up frustration in the crowd and the young kids nearby get to wave the flags they’ve been holding onto so patiently for most of the game. Early in the fourth quarter, Darcy Vescio brings the Blues to within six points and it’s game on. The Carlton supporters haven’t been happy with the umpiring all night and are further incensed when a 50 metre penalty results in a mark inside 50 and a goal to Sophie Conway. Two more goals to Brisbane (one to Nat Exon and another to Sophie Conway after another 50 metre penalty) put the result beyond doubt while Carlton manage to hit the post a couple of times.


While Brisbane’s win opens up the competition for the top two spots in the AFLW, all of the players, coaches and fans here tonight have given AFLX a lesson in footy with heart, soul and (most importantly) meaning.


Carlton       0.0    0.2     1.3    2.6   (18)

Brisbane    0.1    1.2     3.2    6.4   (40)



Carlton: Gay, Vescio

Brisbane: Conway 2, Ashmore, Wuetschner, Gibson, Exon



Carlton: Moody, Gay, Harrington, J. Hosking, Loynes, Audley

Brisbane: McCarthy, Wuetschner, Frederick-Traub, Stanton, Exon, Conway


Crowd: 6,200


Buy your copy of the Women’s 2017 Footy Almanac – the inaugural season – here.

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.


  1. John Butler says

    The Almanac Wing. I like it.

    Nice work Gill.

  2. Yvette Wroby says

    It starts with a wing and we take over the whole bloody chicken! It was great watching this engrossing game with you all and meeting new people every week.

    This year, it seems there’s less times when we can all meet up. Next year there will be two extra local teams, and the year after, 4 extra.

    Meanwhile, great report Gillian. Free kicks of 50 metres keep turning the game on it’s head, as does the ball heading up the other end with the last touch rule. Loved hearing the parochial Blues supporters all around get revved up by the umpiring.

    What we were watching was footy, in all it’s rawness. I’ll talk it any day.

  3. Yvette Wroby says

    I meant to write, I’ll take it any day. But I’ll talk it too!

  4. Yvette, there are a couple of home games for Melbourne-based teams that aren’t played in Melbourne. This has a big impact on a short season and can make it tricky to get to games when you have other commitments. Luckily I can record all the games and watch them at my leisure.

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