CARLTON made it through to their second consecutive AFLW preliminary final after defeating Brisbane by 29 points in their semi-final at Ikon Park on Sunday.
In front of no fans, in what is becoming the new normal amidst the coronavirus pandemic, the Blues overcame a slow start to kick six of the last seven goals, including three to Georgia Gee, to beat the Lions 6.8 (44) to 2.3 (15).
However, Carlton faces a very nervous wait with star key forward Tayla Harris facing a possible suspension after being reported for a sling-tackle on the Lions’ Emily Bates in the third quarter.
Gun Blues midfielder Maddy Prespakis might also be in doubt after injuring her left ankle, although she did manage to play the game out under duress.
It was one-way traffic after quarter-time with Carlton registering 38 of the last 49 inside 50s while also finishing the game with 55 more disposals (236-181) and 38 more contested possessions (125-87).
The result sets up a showdown with powerhouse North Melbourne for the right to play in the 2020 premiership decider and keeps alive the Blues’ hopes of going one better than their grand final loss last year.
Gee was the game breaker in the second half but Chloe Dalton, Prespakis, Darcy Vescio and captain Kerryn Harrington were all influential in preventing Brisbane from scoring to the Royal Parade end.
Ally Anderson was Brisbane’s best and she was well supported by Bates, Jess Wuetschner and Sophie Conway.
The Lions put Carlton under pressure early but couldn’t capitalise on their dominance and had to settle for a two-point lead at quarter-time.
The Blues weren’t able to get their transition game going but managed to absorb the onslaught and the roles were reversed in the second term with Carlton dominating territory and denying the Lions space to take a six-point advantage at the long break.
Prespakis should’ve made it three goals in a row for the Blues early in the third stanza but the umpires inexplicably adjudged her attempt to be touched off the boot when TV replays clearly showed the ball missed the Brisbane defender’s fingertips by some margin.
But it mattered little as star forward Gee booted a pair of goals in four minutes soon after to take the game out of Brisbane’s reach.
© AAP 2020
CARLTON 1.0 2.2 4.6 6.8 (44)
BRISBANE LIONS 1.2 1.2 2.3 2.3 (15)
Goals: Carlton: G Gee 3 D Vescio L McEvoy T Harris. Brisbane Lions: J Tawhiao-Wardlaw J Wuetschner.
Umpires: Nathan Toner, James Strybos, Peter Bailes.
Venue: Ikon Park.