Carlton and Essendon have opened a new chapter of their storied rivalry in exhilarating fashion at North Port Oval.
The Blues took bragging rights holding on to win by a solitary point after a late Essendon final quarter rally put the game right back in the balance. No doubt giving Carlton supporters horrible cases of Deja-vu after recent weeks.
The Blues led by 21 points at three-quarter time before Essendon kicked three goals in the opening five minutes of the fourth quarter, with a Madison Prespakis snap at the front of the goalsquare to cut the margin to three points in no time at all.
After mixed results for both teams in the opening round of season seven, both against other traditional rivals, The Blues were hoping to make amends for their disappointing start to the new season, while the Bombers were looking to continue their winning ways in a matchup containing layers with guaranteed spice.
Darcy Vescio was the star up forward for the Blues, kicking two goals in the opening quarter including the first one of the game tied up against the behind post.
They were not alone as all the Blues leaders turned in strong performances in the first half. Darcy Vescio with their goals, Breann Moody with her ruck dominance, and Gab Pound patrolling the backline allowing Kerryn Peterson to play in a new role higher up the ground.
Blues coach Daniel Harford said post-game he was impressed with his leader’s role in the game today after a disappointing showing in Round one against Collingwood.
“I think all of our leaders did a great job,” Harford said. “Kez (Peterson) did a hell of a job on the wing, in a new role for her. Darcy’s goals and job as an impact forward were magnificent. Jess Dal Pos I thought was huge in the forward half in the way she led that unit for us and the pressure at ground level.
“All of our leaders I thought were fabulous. Gab’s certainly one of those, she’s been around for a long time now so we expect good performances from her and we got that today”.
They were called on again to steady the ship as things got tense late in the game when the Bombers were surging.
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New blue Amelia Velardo, who grew up a Carlton supporter spoke exclusively to The Inner Sanctum straight after the final siren detailing how the team responded collectively from last week’s disappointment and the nervy final minutes of play.
“Last week really wasn’t us and what we had been driving in the pre-season” Velardo said.
“It was kind of just reigning it back to the brand that we wanted to play which is a high-pressure game, high contest footy and winning the ball inside. We just drilled in on really trusting our teammates and having the belief that we could do it and we certainly did that today”
“It was definitely tough and it got pretty heated,” Velardo said describing the final moments of play.
“We really had to strip back and re-focus (After Essendon piled on three quick goals in succession), go back to finding our brand and lock it in in those final minutes, and shut the game down”
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