Beyond Your Wildest Dreams
Friday, February 03 2017 @ 10:49 pm ACDT
Contributed by: Wesley Hull
It took way, way too long for women’s football to finally happen at the highest national level. But happen it did, and a lock-out crowd of spectators descended on Ikon Park (formerly Princes Park – iconic home of the Carlton Blues)to usher in a new era of Australian Rules football in style.
Such was the magnitude of the crowd, that caught organisers off guard, that AFL CEO, Gillon McLachlan actually went outside the ground to apologise to members of the estimated 2000 people that could not get into the game. Inside the stadium a crowd estimated at over 25,000 watched an historic but also highly entertaining match of women’s football.
The game had everything – snapped goals, pack marks, brutal tackles, dashing runs. Carlton’s Darcy Vescio scintillated the crown with four outstanding goals. Brianna Davey’s dash out of defence was as telling as her finishing skills, managing a goal along the way. Her 26 disposals set up Carlton’s attacking and left Collingwood players in her wake.
The pack marking of Bianca Jakobsson, especially in the final quarter, was as impressive as it was telling. Captain, Lauren Arnell, led the team by example under packs or in open spaces. Nat Exon’s dash out of the middle – or anywhere for that matter – just split Collingwood apart.
For their part, Collingwood were not disgraced – simply outplayed on the night. Sarah D’Arcy just kept going all night, refusing to be beaten. Steph Chiocci battled hard until leaving the field with concussion and Moana Hope was kept almost scoreless by the double teaming of the Blues’ defence. Jasmine Garner made history, kicking the first goal of the night – and Collingwood’s only goal – to be the first goal-kicker in the women’s national game.
Players on both teams threw themselves into contests with reckless abandon, with injuries on both teams. However, Collingwood can take some solace from the fact that they lost four players to injury or concussion as the game progressed, ruining their rotations and making a realistic comeback near impossible.
The spectacle was wonderful, and the former footballing order of men’s teams fell forever with the arrival of two bands of women who showed the world that women’s football certainly does belong at the highest level.
For the record, the Blues won the match by 35 points in a low scoring match. After all of the hype, promotion and excitement, the game was beyond even the wildest dreams of many of those involved.
Final Score: Carlton 7 4 46 d Collingwood 1 5 11.
Picture: Courtesy www.abc.net.au