Sport AFL Carlton wins tense AFLW Grand Final rematch, Freo remains undefeated
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Carlton wins tense AFLW Grand Final rematch, Freo remains undefeated

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Carlton players celebrate. Photo: Getty
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Carlton surprised reigning AFLW premiers Adelaide by eight points in a thrilling grand final rematch on Sunday.

Adelaide thumped the Blues in the 2019 decider, winning by 45 points, but Carlton produced a stirring performance to win on the road on this occasion.

Led by star midfielder Madison Prespakis, who collected 20 disposals, the Blues came from behind to win 5.6 (36) to 4.4 (28).

Star forward Tayla Harris was important for the Blues, kicking two goals, while Darcy Vescio kicked the only major of the final term to seal Carlton’s statement-making victory.

“We came into today thinking today was about today,” Carlton coach Daniel Harford said.

“What had happened [last year] had happened and that was really important for us as a footy club to understand is that what’s done is done – there’s no point worrying about that.

“To beat an opponent that you’ve never been able to beat [before] is a real confidence booster.

“Hopefully we’re able to harness that and understand that any given week, we are a chance should we do the right thing.

“It’s about confidence and knowing you can.

“As a coach, all you want is for your players to believe that and buy into that. We saw that today.”

Adelaide star Erin Phillips returned from a knee injury for the Crows, but most of the 7281-strong crowd went home disappointed.

Dockers edge a thriller

Also on Sunday, Fremantle remained undefeated after edging AFLW newcomers St Kilda by one point in a thriller at Moorabbin.

An upset looked on the cards when Molly McDonald kicked an important last-quarter goal, but the same player then gave away a 50-metre penalty for not handing back the ball after a free kick.

Fremantle’s Kate Flood levelled the scores with a major from the goalsquare, levelling proceedings with one minute and 40 seconds remaining.

Gemma Houghton then kicked the match-winning point on the run, Fremantle winning 3.6 (24) to 3.5 (23).

Fremantle is the only AFLW team to have won all four of its matches.

St Kilda’s Tarni White suffered what looked to be a serious knee injury in the clash.

Sunday’s other match saw the Brisbane Lions beat Greater Western Sydney 7.8 (50) to 3.5 (23).

North Melbourne wins again

Jasmine Garner (29 disposals) and skipper Emma Kearney (26 disposals) helped North Melbourne to a 13-point win over Gold Coast Suns at Arden Street on Saturday.

The Suns got within four points at one stage in the last quarter, but North held firm to win 6.11 (47) to 5.4 (34).

North Melbourne has won three matches in a row and takes on Adelaide in a battle between two of the competition’s best sides in Round 5.

Other matches on Saturday saw the West Coast Eagles come from behind to defeat Western Bulldogs by four points, giving the victors their inaugural AFLW victory.

West Coast skipper Emma Swanson led the way in midfield in a 4.6 (30) to 3.8 (26) triumph.

Geelong also won in Round 4, 22-point victors against Richmond, while on Friday night, Melbourne proved too good for Collingwood, winning 7.4 (46) to 4.2 (26).

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