AFLW Round 7 – Fremantle v Carlton : Curtain time for Carlton Blues faltering before the Fremantle Dockers

Fremantle Dockers v Carlton Blues
Saturday 17 March 2018
Kick-off: 2:05pm WST
Fremantle Oval, WA
By Jennifer Muirden


I sat down to view today’s dead rubber match as a fairly emotionally detached football supporter. I knew full well that the result of the game mattered not since it would not have any effect on the ultimate winner or loser of this year’s 2018 AFLW Season. That said, the wooden spoon was up for grabs. On paper I feared Fremantle, with a very strong side, the obvious home ground advantage and with much more on the line having finished seventh behind fourth placed Carlton in the inaugural 2017 AFLW season, would come out victors. I was certainly hoping that Carlton would somehow bring home an away game win to save them from cementing themselves as cellar-dwellers.


The first half of the game certainly didn’t set the world on fire in terms of skills, nor the scoreline, thus I found myself distracted and observing things that really were inconsequential in the larger scheme of things and yet either amused, baffled or thoroughly impressed me.


Things that amused and entertained me were the quirky, and at times alarming, suburban ground old air raid siren signalling quarter time breaks. Then I amused myself as my vivid imagination went into overdrive every time I heard the commentators talk about Freo’s brilliant midfielder Dana Hooker. I found myself involuntarily exclaiming, “Oh no, it’s T.J. Hooker again!” as I imagined Dana morphing into William Shatner in his Sergeant T.J. Hooker character. But then I would also sing out the well-known catchy real estate jingle, “LJ Hooker, you’re the best!”. I alternated between the two throughout the entire game.


Two major things baffled me. Having missed the pre-match build up and explanatory commentary I wondered why the Fremantle women were wearing black arms bands. Did somebody significant recently pass away about who I should be aware? As a hard core, and slightly bitter Saints supporter, I contemplated whether the arm bands were symbolic of the death of Ross Lyon’s career?


All jokes aside, what on earth was going on with Carlton’s Ruck woman Bridie Kennedy wearing an over the top pinkish red ribbon in her hair? Surely that’s not correct club endorsed attire. While a wide ribbon wrapped ponytail has become Kennedy’s trademark look, I wondered why she chose to, and was allowed to, wear that particular hue. Seems trivial and perhaps judgemental, but I found myself thinking Bridie could take a leaf out of Fremantle’s Hayley Miller. For me she got it right tying her hair up with a collection of more subtle trim satin ribbons appropriately in purple, red and white colours.


Now a couple of things that impressed me. I loved the Blues pale blue clash guernsey incorporating Eliza Svikulis’ artwork, featured on the walls outside Carlton’s AFLW training facilities at Princes Park, with uber-talented forward Darcy Vescio’s graphic design skills.


Tayla Harris at Carlton Blues heartland, Princes Park standing in front of the wall emblazoned with Eliza Svikulis’ impressive artwork. Photo source:


I was fascinated watching twin sisters Sarah and Jess Hoskings play in the midfield together for the Blues. It took me back to enjoying Adelaide raised twins Shane and Darryl Wakelin play alongside one another for my beloved Saints in the late nineties at both Waverley Park and training at Moorabbin. I marvelled at Carlton’s Amazon Alison Downie who, along with contributing two goals, seemed totally comfortable in her own skin. Her imposing stature is something to behold. I’m not at all surprised to hear she was previously a basketballer.


The three-way crash between Tayla Harris, Hayley Miller and Tayla Bresland resulting in a good old fashion biffo with Cassie Davidson et al late in the third-quarter was throughly engaging and made me reflect on the good old VFL days in the seventies and eighties. At this point Fremantle had become decimated by injuries and it had become an exhilarating high-stakes match. Now we had a serious ball game on our hands! I was riveted watching the final term. Fremantle’s Hayley Miller’s courageous and gutsy effort to get up and play on after that sickening mid-air collision truly demonstrated that she’s an elite footballer.


Finally, I want to acknowledge gun forward Tayla Harris recruited from Brisbane Lions during the off-season. Prior to the 2017 ALFW trade period, Harris expressed her desire to be traded to a Victorian club. The trade period started in May. Early talks between Brisbane and Carlton faltered; although Carlton offered Bianca Jakobsson in trade, Brisbane wanted an additional player. Melbourne also made an offer for Harris. On 25 May 2017, Harris was traded to the Blues in a complex trade involving four teams, five players and a draft pick. Brisbane Lions loss has certainly been a gain for the Carlton Blues with Harris as their leading goalkicker in 2018.


Tayla Harris with Dustin Martin winner of AFL Players’ MVP Awards, September 12, 2017. Photo source: Instagram:@taylaharriss


To pay tribute to Tayla’s self-empowerment, independence and star power I have rewritten the lyrics of Girl on Fire by Alicia Keys.


Tayla’s on Fire by Jennifer Muirden

Sung to the tune of the first title track Girl on Fire from Alicia Keys fifth studio album Girl on Fire (2012)


She’s more than a girl, and she’s on fire
Dreamed her fantasy, headed down the highway
She’s now living in her world, and she’s on fire
Went through the decision agony, but she knew she must fly away
Oh, she’s got both feet on the ground
And she’s burning it down
Oh, she brings in the crowds
And she doesn’t let the fans down


Once a Lions girl she’s on fire
Now a Blues girl she’s on fire
She’s walking a high wire
Tayla Harris is on fire!


Looks like a girl, but she’s a dame
So brilliant, she can cleverly disguise
Beware, lest you look away
You can try, but you’ll never forget her name
For she weaves and is rarely hurled
Toughest or the toughest many say
Oh, she’s got both feet on the ground
Her rivals she can confound
Oh, she brings in the crowds
And she doesn’t let the fans down


This Blues girl is on fire
This Blues girl is on fire
She’s a high flyer
Tayla Harris is on fire!


Everyone left in her wake, as she runs on by
Cause they can see the passion in her eyes
Watching her as she keeps up the fight
Everyone knows she’s a determined girl
And she wont be unfurled
When her strong legs burn, baby, burn, baby


This Blues girl is on fire
This Blues girl is on fire
She’s a high flyer
Tayla Harris is on fire!
Oh, oh, oh,
She’s more than a girl, and she’s on fire!


2.2. 3.2. 6.4. 9.5. (59)
CARLTON: 2.0. 3.5. 5.7. 6.12. (48)


Amy Lavell 2, Kara Donnellan 1, Hayley Miller 1, Lisa Webb 1, Kellie Gibson 1, Ashley Sharp 1, Ebony Antonio 1, Dana Hooker 1
Carlton: Tayla Harris 2, Alison Downie 2, Darcy Vescio 1 Katie Loynes 1


Dana Hooker, Kara Donnellan, Hayley Miller, Ebony Antonio, Lisa Webb, Amy Lavell
Carlton: Tayla Harris, Alison Downie, Lauren Arnell, Sarah Hosking, Katie Loynes, Darcy Vescio, Maddison Gay

Tayla Bresland (ribs), Alicia Janz (knee),Gabby O’Sullivan ( concussion due to head knock )
Carlton: Shae Audley (concussion due to head knock)

UMPIRES Mc Phee, Rawlings, Simmonds
CROWD No actual numbers determined due to non attendance of monitors at turnstile. Crowd believed to be approximately 1,000.

Tayla Harris (Carlton) 3, Hayley Miller ( Fremantle ) 2, Dana Hooker (Fremantle) 1


About Jennifer Muirden

Jennifer Muirden has been a keen St Kilda supporter since 1978 and fondly remembers her childhood Saturdays spent at Linton Street, Moorabbin. In her lifetime she hopes to experience the Saints second Premiership.


  1. Like your very good self, Jen, I have no emotional attachment to either team, but from what little I saw of the game it looked like a ding-dong affair.
    Gutsy effort by Hayley Miller – you could say she was well and truly “Tayla-ed” (which I’m sure is better than being tasered).
    The Fremantle Oval air-raid siren has certainly cleared the aural cobwebs a few times while watching my beloved WAFL team East Perth do battle with home side South Fremantle.
    Sometimes the siren couldn’t come quickly enough.
    I wonder if the now non-operational Freo Jail at the southern end of the ground had a similar siren for when “guests” such as “Postcard Bandit” Brenden Abbott escaped.
    Glad that you were on song while watching the game.
    I fondly remember the “LH Hooker, you’re the best” ad, song to the tune of the great Carly Simon’s “Nobody Does It Better”.

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