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AFLW: Blues 'disappointed' in suspended Harris

Star Blue Tayla Harris will miss Friday's clash through suspension - AFLW,Carlton Blues,Darcy Vescio,Tayla Harris
Star Blue Tayla Harris will miss Friday's clash through suspension

DARCY Vescio concedes Carlton is disappointed in star forward Tayla Harris, who will miss Friday night's critical NAB AFL Women's game against the Western Bulldogs through suspension.   

Harris accepted a one-game ban for striking Brisbane defender Leah Kaslar in the third quarter on Saturday. The suspension puts more pressure on the Blues, who lost their captain and most important player Brianna Davey to a season-ending knee injury in round two.

Speaking at VU Whitten Oval on Tuesday afternoon as the clubs unveiled the special guernseys they will wear in the Pride game, Vescio said the Blues would need to respond to the loss of the 20-year-old.

"We're all disappointed," she said.

"Nobody's more disappointed than Tayla.

"I don't think there was anything malicious in it, but it's obviously not a great look.

"[She's] going to do everything she can to make sure she's right for next round (against Collingwood).

"We've got plenty of other forwards who will step up and it [Harris's absence] gives plenty of opportunities to other girls."

Former captain Lauren Arnell, who was dropped after struggling in round one, could return to the team. She kicked four goals last season as a high half-forward.

Untried tall forward Bridie Kennedy could also come in.

Vescio confirmed coach Damien Keeping would return after missing the last two games with illness.

Assistant coach Nick Rutley was in charge during Keeping's absence.

"It's been hard having him away," Vescio said.

"But ‘Ruts' stepped up and he's been unbelievable.

"‘Damo's a big part of our team … the girls will be really happy he's coaching us on the weekend."

Although they started with two straight wins, the Blues have struggled up forward. 

They've been inaccurate, with only eight goals to date, fewest in the competition and half the tally they registered this time last year.

Questioned whether Carlton's defensive style was hampering its ability to score, Vescio said accuracy would lead to more prolific output.

"I put my hand up (for inaccurate kicking)," said Vescio, who won the AFLW goalkicking award last year with 14 but has posted only 2.4 this season.

"Once we start snagging a few…things will open up.

"As the rounds progress, you get to know your teammates a lot better and I think every team's improving."

The inaugural Pride game is a show of support to the LGBTQI community, with the clubs promoting the themes of inclusiveness and diversity.

Vescio, a graphic designer working at Carlton, had a hand in designing the Blues’ guernsey for the game.