CARLTON has snared its fourth-successive win to stay on track for an AFLW finals spot, coming from behind to edge Melbourne by 16 points in Alice Springs.
Carlton looked like they were in for a long night on Saturday at Traeger Park when the Demons had most of the ball and set up most chances for an eight-point halftime lead.
But the Blues, who last year leapt from wooden spooners to surprise grand finalists, continued their 2020 charge with a 6.4 (40) to 3.6 (24) victory.
Carlton snatched the lead for the first time midway through the third quarter and they never surrendered the advantage.
Big-kicking forward Tayla Harris had a hand in two Blues goals in two minutes to turn the game on its head, kicking truly from a mark before her handball set up Grace Egan for another major.
Carlton’s classy Madison Prespakis continued her outstanding season, collecting 23 disposals and kicking a stunning, crucial goal on the run in the last quarter.
Adding to the disappointment for Melbourne was a knee injury suffered by Sarah Lampard.
Midfielder Karen Paxman’s best year of her career rolled on with another outstanding performance, picking up 27 touches and not deserving to finish on the losing side.
The game was played in an all-but empty stadium because of the coronavirus pandemic and Melbourne dominated the early stages.
But it wasn’t until the 10-minute mark they were rewarded for their efforts and it came from a stunning solo assault from Kate Hore.
The speedster snared the ball just forward of the wing, dashing downfield and taking three bounces before centring it to Niamh McEvoy, who handballed back.
Hore snapped from an acute angle under pressure from the pocket and the ball bounced truly for a spectacular contender for goal of the year.
“I was absolutely cooked when I got to the end of that,” Hore told Fox Footy. “I’m just glad I put it through in the end.”
But Carlton rushed forward from the centre bounce, the ball ending up with Brooke Walker who responded with a goal, the Blues showing they would fight to the end.
The Blues jump above the Demons and into second place in ultra-competitive Conference B. They join Fremantle on 20 points, just percentage behind the Dockers, with Melbourne above Collingwood on 16 points only on differential, with three teams to go through to finals.
© AAP 2020
CARLTON 1.1 2.1 4.1 6.4 (40)
MELBOURNE 2.3 3.3 3.5 3.6 (24)
Goals: Carlton: B Walker 2 G Egan G Gee M Prespakis T Harris. Melbourne: K Hore S Perkins S Scott.
Venue: Traeger Park.