A PIECE of Darcy Vescio magic has led Carlton to a five-point win over a gallant Collingwood, with her snap goal in the dying minutes sealing a memorable victory.
It means the Blues are a step closer to a preliminary final berth, the 4.10 (34) to 4.5 (29) win at Ikon Park leaving the team in second place of the Conference B ladder.
Both Carlton coach Daniel Harford and Collingwood coach Wayne Siekman were on the boundary line for the tense final term, which started with Collingwood 10 points ahead.
Carlton had the first seven scoring shots of the match but failed to capitalise, kicking one goal through Tayla Harris and six behinds.
Her final-quarter heroics aside, Vescio had struggled in front of goal early in the match, kicking three behinds in the first term.
FULL FIXTURE Check out when and where your club plays
From there, Collingwood snatched the ascendency with six scoring shots of its own in the second quarter, controlling the ball with shorter passes rather than bombing down the line.
Crucially, there were two goals in that tally to top draft picks Katie Lynch (pick 11) and Jordy Allen (pick five). Allen has previously played off half-back this season but looked comfortable with the switch up forward.
Carlton captain Brianna Davey (20 touches) moved between the middle of the ground and behind the ball, depending on where she was most needed, while young gun Maddy Prespakis led the way with 21 disposals and a goal.
RACE FOR FINALS Where is your team placed?
The game opened up after half-time, with both sides switching play and carrying the ball well up and down the wings.
Collingwood defender Ash Brazill picked up where she left off after missing last week with concussion, reading the ball well and rebounding strongly.
Irish teammate Sarah Rowe (13 touches) ran hard, as did captain Steph Chiocci (12), while Jaimee Lambert was her industrious self around the packs.
Harris spent a large portion of the third term on the bench getting treatment on her troublesome right shoulder but returned to play out the game.
The match was won when…
It looked like Collingwood was on the cusp of its first win when Sarah Rowe kicked a goal after the three-quarter time siren. It gave the Pies all the momentum heading into the final term, but Carlton held them scoreless, continually peppering its own forward 50. It took a bit of vintage Darcy Vescio magic to get the Blues over the line, a roving snap from 30m with just a few minutes remaining. Tayla Harris did well to shepherd the ball over the goal line.
Carlton forward Tayla Harris had horrendous luck last week against Geelong, hitting the post three times, including one while running into an open goalsquare. It looked like Harris was in for another horror night when she took a strong mark running from behind in the first term and hit the post again with her resulting set shot. But she broke the curse soon after, winning a free kick for holding the ball and kicking a goal.
There were three debutants playing in the match between the two sides. The 2017 under-18 All Australian captain Darcy Guttridge played across half-forward for Collingwood in her first match, having missed 2018 with a broken collarbone and the first half of 2019 with a quad niggle. She looked comfortable at the top level and kicked a goal, much to the delight of her teammates. Carlton pair Emerson Woods and Charlotte Wilson also made their debuts, Woods running in the midfield and Wilson down back.
Collingwood's new-look forward line
The Magpies have consistently struggled to get a score on the board this year. Having lost forwards Christina Bernardi, Jasmine Garner and Moana Hope to other clubs, and Sarah D'Arcy to a hamstring injury, it was up to 18-year-olds Katie Lynch and Jordy Allen, 19-year-old Guttridge, fourth-gamer Sophie Alexander and seventh-gamer Jordan Membrey to hold the fort. They combined better than any Magpies forward combination this year, kicking their highest score.
"You can look back to the start of the game, and [Darcy Vescio] misses the ones you expect her to kick with her eyes closed. But as I've said previously about Darcy, she's an amazing footballer, a very capable footballer and the moments don't seem to faze her." – Carlton coach Daniel Harford
"Heaps of improvement again. That second and third quarter we pretty much dominated Carlton and got our reward for it, too. We've been working heaps on our forward pressure, and Carlton couldn't get it out, it was just turnover after turnover … that last quarter, Carlton stepped it up again, and we just couldn't get our hands on the footy to play the way we wanted to play and that was the difference in the end." – Collingwood coach Wayne Siekman
Carlton's road to a preliminary final berth has suddenly opened up, but it will have to get past Brisbane at Ikon Park. Collingwood's season doesn't get any easier, taking on North Melbourne as part of the AFLW double-header at Marvel Stadium.
CARLTON 1.5 1.6 2.7 4.10 (34)
COLLINGWOOD 0.0 2.4 4.5 4.5 (29)
Carlton: Harris, Prespakis, Downie, Vescio
Collingwood: Lynch, Allen, Guttridge, Rowe
Carlton: Davey, Prespakis, Pound, Harrington, Harris
Collingwood: Brazill, Lambert, Rowe, Allen, Chiocci
Carlton: Harris (right shoulder)
Umpires: Burns, Gibson, McGinness
Crowd: 3215 at Ikon Park