A game that looked to be a nail-biter early on turned into a bit of a runaway for the Blues who move on to the preliminary final against North Melbourne… assuming it goes ahead.
The Lions showed strength against the Blues
The opening term of Semi-final 3 saw the Lions bust onto the field brimming with energy. They seemed to be channeling the physical spirit of their cross-conference rivals Freo in their relentless tackling and pursuit of the contest.
They were rewarded for their efforts by an early goal but were otherwise, surprisingly, held at bay as they struggled to capitalise on their opportunities in their forward 50.
Carlton weren’t necessarily playing poorly but they certainly had trouble fighting against the flow of the Lions, the Blues finding tough opponents locking them in at every turn.
Although this pressure eased as Carlton found their feet throughout the match, the defensive work by many remained outstanding.
Kate Lutkins stood out as usual as a pillar of strength for the Lions and was at the centre of many successful fend-offs against the Blues’ attacks.
Georgie Gee at the helm of a momentum shift
Georgia Gee has impressed consistently this season and today was no exception.
Although she had a relatively quiet game early on, she started to shine as usual from the second quarter.
She’s demonstrated once again that she is not a player that needs to rack up numbers to have an impact, today totalling 12 disposals (eight contested possessions) and three goals.
Chloe Dalton had nothing but praise for her teammate post-match, calling her “exceptional” and saying that she is “one of the cleanest footy players” she’s ever seen.
"You just know that whenever the footy is on the ground or whenever it’s near her, that she’s just gonna get a really clean pick up and dispose of it really efficiently as well so it's pretty cool playing with her."
While there are whispers abound that we might’ve just seen the last of AFLW for 2020, we know that it won’t be the last we see of Georgia Gee. If she is required to hang up her boots for the season, at least she can rest knowing she went out true to form.
Carlton end strong, but will that be enough?
Assuming that the season plays out as planned, Carlton may have an issue to resolve regarding their energy when they step onto the field.
It seems to have been a problem for them for much of the season, starting a little slowly while they find their feet and their pace, only to gradually gain steam to end with a bang.
This might’ve been enough thus far, having made it to the preliminary final against North Melbourne, but the Roos will undoubtedly punish the Blues for any hesitancy or misstep.
And if they go through to the Grand Final, they certainly won’t be allowed the time to find their place and their confidence on the field.
No doubt coach Daniel Harford will try to address this if they play again, whenever that may be.
While many might assume that he would be stressed about the uncertainty surrounding the immediate future of the season, he says that the advice he has given his players is to “just follow the bouncing ball” and appreciate every opportunity they’re given.
“We’ll go if we need to go… We’ll play tomorrow if you want.”