Carlton have opened the 2018 AFL Women’s season with a hard-fought eight-point win over Collingwood in front of another big crowd at Ikon Park.
There was no repeat of the lockout for last year’s season-opener, but a healthy crowd of 19,852 fans saw the Blues hang on for a 3.4 (22) to 2.2 (14) win on Friday night.
While the AFL will be pleased at the turnout, efforts to encourage greater scoring fell flat with neither team able to kick a goal in the second half.
Carlton skipper Brianna Davey led the way with 16 possessions, with high-profile recruit Tayla Harris also prominent for the home side.
“We’re excited – to win the first game and take that first step in a really positive manner … the players are really excited,” Carlton coach Damien Keeping said.
“It was a really contested game and at different times each team had the momentum.
“But we found a way (to win) which I’m really proud of.
“They dug in and really fought hard … which was really encouraging.”
First-round draft pick Chloe Molloy starred in her debut game with 20 touches for the Magpies.
Collingwood’s Jasmine Garner kicked the opening goal of the inaugural AFL Women’s season and history repeated when she kicked truly from a set shot to open proceedings.
The Pies scored just one goal in last year’s season-opener and Friday night’s contest looked set to follow a similar script.
Carlton poured on the defensive pressure and Harris helped her new side to a seven-point lead at quarter-time with her first goal in navy blue.
Amelia Barden goaled as the Pies enjoyed a bright patch in the second term without making the most of it on the scoreboard.
Neither side managed a goal in a tense third quarter in which Sarah D’Arcy was reported for kicking Carlton’s Sarah Hosking in an ugly incident.
The Pies camped in their attacking half in the final term but their efforts were stifled by a desperate Carlton defensive effort that secured the points.
“Obviously we’re very disappointed … the girls are hurting,” Magpies coach Wayne Siekman said.
“We’re really close … there are just a few small areas that we need to work on.
“We just lacked a bit of composure at times.”