Round 3 Saturday 22 February

Victoria University Whitten Oval
Listen Live

    Harris, Blues respond to down fast-finishing Bulldogs

    TAYLA Harris has answered her critics in emphatic fashion, delivering an impressive performance as Carlton responded from last week's disappointment to hold off a fast-finishing Western Bulldogs outfit in the Pride Game at the VU Whitten Oval on Saturday.

    Having been described as 'useless' by opponent Stacey Livingstone last week, Harris was a constant threat both in the air and on ground level in the Blues' forward line to inspire her side to a comfortable 21-point victory over the Dogs.

    BLUES BEAT BULLDOGS Full match coverage and stats

    The 8.3 (51) to 4.6 (30) win was Carlton's second victory in three matches to start the AFLW season, ensuring the Blues remained in the hunt in a competitive and strong Conference B.

    Harris finished with one goal to go with 13 disposals and four marks, also playing a key role in a number of other Carlton goals, while clever forward Georgia Gee kicked three majors as the duo combined to produce a lively display in attack.

    AFLW Match Highlights: Western Bulldogs v Carlton

    06:37 Feb 22. 2020. 6:30 PM

    The Bulldogs and Blues clash in Round 3 of the AFLW

    Young midfield pair Madison Prespakis (24 disposals, six tackles) and Lucy McEvoy (19 disposals, one goal) were also dominant, as the Blues held off some late nerves to secure a crucial win.

    Skipper Ellie Blackburn (20 disposals, four tackles) was her side's best, but she couldn't drag the hosts over the line as a slow start came back to haunt the Bulldogs.

    Durable Dog sidelined after horror incident

    00:23 Feb 22. 2020. 3:52 PM

    Angelica Gogos is ruled out of the match after this incident involving her right leg

    Ironically, after the week she had endured, it was a clean Harris groundball get that resulted in a nice handball to Gee for the game's first goal.

    That sparked a run of three straight majors to open the game for the Blues, with a Lauren Brazzale bomb from outside 50m and a maiden AFLW goal for McEvoy stretching their early lead.

    Fortunately for the hosts, a clever Bonnie Toogood snap stemmed the bleeding just prior to quarter time, before Elisabeth Georgostathis kicked the second term's only major to reduce the margin to just four points at the main change.

    Bonnie brings back Bulldogs' bite

    00:26 Feb 22. 2020. 3:49 PM

    Bonnie Toogood only needs one second to create an opportunist goal

    Carlton needed a steadier and fortunately Gee was on hand to provide it, restoring order to a suddenly shaky Blues outfit when she crumbed nicely and put through her second to start the third quarter.

    Gee punishes Dog's mistake

    00:24 Feb 22. 2020. 4:55 PM

    Georgia Gee receives the ball off the opposition and says thank you very much

    Another nice pick-up on ground level from Harris resulted in a high free kick and her first goal for the afternoon, as slowly but surely the visitors rebuilt their early advantage.

    Scott's flight quickly grounded

    00:27 Feb 22. 2020. 4:06 PM

    Hannah Scott displays courage as Nicola Stevens comes in late

    However, the Dogs were kicking into a handy breeze in the final quarter and were inspired by the sheer brilliance of Kirsten McLeod.

    After nearly kicking one of the all-time great goals, only for her sublime running effort to be touched on the line, the speedy forward then snapped the first of the final term from deep inside the pocket to reduce the margin.

    McLeod's daughter isn't satisfied with one incredible effort

    00:38 Feb 22. 2020. 5:10 PM

    Kirsten McLeod almost produces Goal of the Year then follows up with a brilliant rectifying goal

    With the Blues in need of a steadier, Darcy Vescio – who had alternated between either end of the field throughout the afternoon – crumbed at the back of the pack to give the visitors breathing space again.

    But the drama wasn't over, with Kirsty Lamb snapping through a nice goal just moments later to whittle the margin back into single figures.

    However, just when the Blues looked nervous, Nicola Stevens finished a flowing attacking move and Gee added her third to ensure the points were secured.

    Young Dog pounces on ball and kicks her first

    00:29 Feb 22. 2020. 4:32 PM

    Elisabeth Georgostathis sneaks out the back of the pack and blazes away for a major

    It was over when…
    The Blues looked rocky when the Dogs reduced the margin to just nine points in the final term, but an impressive flowing move resulted in Nicola Stevens marking deep inside the pocket and converting. Stevens had struggled in her new position up forward throughout the first two weeks of the season, but was much more of a threat on Saturday and deserved to kick the sealer. 

    The hero
    Carlton will soon start running out of superlatives for Madison Prespakis. The young midfielder was again superb on Saturday, constantly willing her side forward at stoppages and spreading around the ground. She finished with 24 disposals and six tackles in what was a clear best on ground display. 

    The ladder now
    It already looks very congested in an even and competitive Conference B. Nearly halfway through the home and away season, four of the seven teams in that particular division are locked on two wins. Fremantle and Collingwood will get the opportunity to surge ahead when they meet on Saturday night, but Carlton and Melbourne are trailing narrowly. Each game is now becoming nearly make-or-break for the Western Bulldogs, who have only one win. 

    The first blow
    After the week Tayla Harris had endured, having been labelled 'useless' on ground level by her opponent Stacey Livingstone after last round's loss to Collingwood, the Carlton star couldn't have got Saturday's contest off to a better start. Collecting cleanly on ground level after a marking contest, Harris dished a lovely handball to Georgia Gee for the game's opening goal. What a way to answer her critics. 

    Tayla Harris was good in the air and on the ground. Picture: AFL Photos

    Say what?
    "Brave is a really good word (to describe the performance). At one stage in the last quarter, I was looking for some fresh legs and [football boss] Debbie Lee was the only one sitting on the bench. I looked at her and she said 'no' and that was it. We had to keep pushing on. In the end, there were quite a few of them out on their legs, but they kept battling on." - Western Bulldogs coach Nathan Burke.

    "We had a breeze (in the first quarter) that we wanted to maximise. We were able to capitalise with three goals early and that made it difficult for them chasing. We knew that the last quarter was going to be in their favour a fair bit … it was just like Test cricket. What you make in the first innings is the number the team batting second needs to make." - Carlton coach Daniel Harford.

    What’s next?
    The Western Bulldogs face a daunting road trip when they travel to Leederville Oval to meet West Coast next Saturday night, while Carlton also heads interstate to meet reigning premiers Adelaide at Hisense Stadium next Sunday afternoon.

    Carlton players celebrate the Pride Round win against the Western Bulldogs. Picture: AFL Photos

    WESTERN BULLDOGS     1.0     2.3     2.3     4.6    (30)
                            3.1     3.1     5.3     8.3    (51) 

    Western Bulldogs: Toogood, Georgostathis, McLeod, Lamb
    Carlton: Gee 3, Brazzale, McEvoy, Harris, Vescio, Stevens 

    Western Bulldogs: Blackburn, McCarthy, Lochland, Newton, Lamb, Toogood
    Carlton: Prespakis, McEvoy, Laloifi, Harris, Gee, Egan, Vescio 

    Western Bulldogs:
    Gogos (knee), McCarthy (nose), Berry (concussion)
    Carlton: Nil

    Western Bulldogs: Nil
    Carlton: Wilson (illness) replaced in selected side by Vernon

    Reports: Nil

    Official crowd: 8259 at VU Whitten Oval

    Match stats will activate once the match has kicked off

    Club Image
    Club Image

    Match stats will activate once the match has kicked off

    Club Image
    Club Image

    Team Stats







    Free kicks




    Inside 50


    Marks in 50


    Contested Possessions






    Match videos