Contributed by: Tash Gunawardana
Carlton secured a 16-point win over the Brisbane Lions on a typical Melbourne weather day with rain and shine at Ikon Park.
In a match that was similar to a elimination final for Conference B, the contest was hot all day.
The Blues decisive win was steered by Maddie Prespakis, Amelia Mullane and Tilly Lucas-Rodd.
This win was set up by the Blues in the second half, where the Blues took full control over the Lions scoring four goals to two.
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It was free flowing football in the opening quarter from both teams, as they applied immense pressure in and around the ball.
Sabrina Frederick-Traub kicked the football inside forward 50 and the ball bounced in the front of Kate McCarthy who slotted through the first major of the match.
There was no easy ball in the opening quarter with strong tackling and one stoppage after another.
Tilly Lucas-Rodd was busy in her first game back and she snapped through a nice goal on the run to open the scoring for the Blues.
The Lions debutant Jade Ellenger put through her first ever AFLW goal on the run from 30m out.
The Lions led by four points at quarter time.
In the second quarter, the Blues wrestled back the momentum and lifted their intensity in the match.
The Blues dominated the Lions all over the ground except on the scoreboard, as they only managed a goal.
There was good ball movement from the Blues in the second term.
Late in the quarter, it was superb play from Tayla Harris who kicked the ball over the top to Brooke Walker.
Walker ran inside 50 and kicked the ball to Darcy Vescio who booted through the easy goal on the run from the goal square.
The Blues had an advantage of three points at the main break.
In the third term, the Blues put their foot on the accelerator and lifted their pressure scoring three goals to one.
They were far too good for the Lions in the quarter.
Harris was strong in the air, as she rose and took the mark inside the Blues forward 50.
She nailed through the goal from the set shot.
It was the ideal start to the third quarter for the Blues.
Ellenger was awarded a 50m-penalty free and from the goal square she slotted the goal truly.
It was Ellenger’s second goal in her debut.
The Blues responded straightaway with a goal of their own via Walker.
Soon after, Walker and Chloe Dalton combined and Walker put through her second goal in a minute.
Late in the third quarter, McCarthy ran into a brick wall named Jess Hosking and came off the ground with what looked to be a injury to the nose.
The Blues led by 16 points at three quarter time.
The Lions stepped up their pressure and the contest tightened up more in the final stanza.
Early in the fourth quarter, McCarthy came back on the ground with her nose heavily taped.
Amelia Mullane’s hard work paid off for the Blues in the half forward flank, as she cut through the heavy Lions traffic and it resulted in a Harris goal.
Jess Wuetschner scored the Lions opening goal of the final term.
The Blues came away with the tough 16-point win over the Lions at Ikon Park.
This win moves the Blues back to the top of Conference B and their finals hopes are well and truly alive.
CARLTON 1.2 2.5 5.6 6.7 (43)
BRISBANE LIONS 2.0 2.2 3.2 4.3 (27)
Carlton: Walker 2, Harris 2, Vescio, Lucas-Rodd
Brisbane Lions: Ellenger 2, McCarthy, Wuetschner
Carlton: Prespakis, Harris, Dalton, Walker, Davey, Stevens
Brisbane Lions: Lutkins, Bates, Anderson, Wuetschner, Exon, Ellenger
Brisbane Lions: McCarthy (nose)
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