ADELAIDE has stormed home against Carlton to secure its first victory of the 2019 AFLW season with a 13-point win at Ikon Park on Sunday afternoon.
Trailing by 17 points late in the third quarter, the Crows kicked six of the final seven goals to overcome an improved Blues outfit and resign the hosts to a disappointing 0-2 start.
Stevie-Lee Thompson (pictured above) booted four majors in a dominant display up forward, while star midfielder Erin Phillips was everywhere as the visitors won 9.3 (57) to 7.2 (44).
First-year midfielder Madison Prespakis was far and away Carlton's best, with the absence of star forward Tayla Harris through injury proving telling on Daniel Harford's side.
In an open and entertaining start to the clash, both sides exchanged early goals to cap a first quarter where the ball frequently travelled from one end of the field to the other.
The Crows made the most of their territorial dominance through Eloise Jones and Thompson, but the Blues responded on the counter via Katie Loynes and Breann Moody.
It led to a frustrating, scoreless second term for Adelaide, with a crumbed goal from Carlton's Natalie Plane giving the Blues the ascendency at the main break.
In a game of momentum swings, Carlton had it – then lost it – after half-time.
The Blues would kick three of the first four goals of the second half to stretch their lead to almost three goals, but saw it quickly whittled away by a valiant Crows outfit.
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Thompson added to her tally with two majors in quick succession, before Phillips took advantage of a contentious free kick to reduce the deficit further. A composed set shot from Sarah Perkins then remarkably had the Crows in front at the final change.
Thompson's fourth for the day, slotted early in the final term, finally gave Adelaide breathing space as a developing Carlton side's resolve was tested and eventually broken.
Blink and you missed it
It took Carlton runner Andy Maher to finally steer first-year star Madison Prespakis away from starting a half-time melee. As tempers flared with both sides heading to the main break, Prespakis had to be restrained as she went at Adelaide gun Courtney Cramey – and the rest of a fired-up Crows outfit.
Five (or 11) minutes of madness
Adelaide looked dead and buried when Darcy Vescio's clever snap put Carlton 17 points to the good late in the third quarter. But it sparked 11 minutes of madness – or magic – from the Crows. The visitors kicked three goals in four minutes to end the third term, before adding three more in the first seven minutes of the final quarter to seal victory.
Sliding doors moment
It came around 20 minutes from the first bounce, when Carlton was forced to withdraw star forward Tayla Harris due to a shoulder complaint. Rhiannon Watt came into the side, but it was evident the Blues lacked a marking target inside 50. Had Harris played, perhaps the hosts may have made the most of their territorial dominance in the third quarter.
One to watch
Stevie-Lee Thompson had spent much of her first two years in the AFLW playing a defensive role across half-back. But a move forward was put on the cards ahead of the 2019 campaign and she has flourished in her new position. Four fantastic goals against Carlton were crucial – and will have her on the radar of opposition coaches in the coming weeks.
"Halfway through that third quarter, we were in a bit of bother. But I thought the players were really calm in that situation and then responded really well. We ran out the game really well (kicking into) a slight wind in the last quarter, but they were on top of the ground which was really pleasing." - Adelaide coach Matthew Clarke
"It was much improved from last week and that's pleasing. When you've got a group like this that has had a fair bit of work to do from where it was last year, to progress to a point where we really challenged one of the best teams in the competition and have a lead like we did midway through the third term … it says that what we're doing is OK." - Carlton coach Daniel Harford
Carlton will look to break its winless streak when it travels to Blacktown to take on Greater Western Sydney next Saturday afternoon, while Adelaide returns to Norwood Oval to face Geelong on Sunday.
CARLTON 2.0 3.0 6.1 7.2 (44)
ADELAIDE 2.2 2.2 6.2 9.3 (57)
Carlton: Plane 2, Loynes, Moody, Dalton, Vescio, Prespakis
Adelaide: Thompson 4, Jones 2, Phillips, Perkins, J.Foley
Carlton: Prespakis, Harrington, Pound, Plane, Barden
Adelaide: Thompson, Phillips, Hatchard, Cramey, Marinoff
Carlton: Harris (shoulder) replaced in selected side by Watt, S.Hosking (hip)
Adelaide: Randall (hamstring) replaced in selected side by Li
Umpires: Gibson, Simmonds, Edwards
Official Crowd: 3150 at Ikon Park