Darcio Vescio celebrates a goal for Carlton against West Coast in round three, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

CARLTON has won its first ever AFLW meeting with West Coast, bouncing back in style to beat the Eagles by 53 points in a slick performance at Mineral Resources Park on Sunday.

Fresh off a 10-goal defeat in round two, the Blues brought their A-game to Western Australia and produced a powerful four-goal second quarter to set up the 12.5 (77) to 3.6 (24) win.

EAGLES v BLUES Full match coverage and stats

They built with speed off half-back and a willingness to take the game on, got on top in the midfield battles, and then took advantage of a weight of forward opportunities to kick their highest score since 2021 and second highest ever in eight seasons.

Classy teenager Keeley Skepper was superb, providing drive from the back half and pushing high up the ground to finish with 23 disposals and three goals.


Forward/ruck Breann Moody (24 hit-outs and two goals) was dominant in the ruck and then influential in attack, while Abbie McKay and Mimi Hill controlled the stoppages with a combined 10 clearances. In attack, Darcy Vescio (two goals) and Mia Austin (two goals) capitalised on a strong team performance.

Carlton took the game away from West Coast in the second quarter, smashing their opponents at the coalface and winning the contested ball (35-18), hit-outs (16-4) and inside 50s (11-3) convincingly.


Through some slick ball movement from the likes of Skepper and Brooke Vickers, the Blues got plenty of good scoring looks and kicked 4.2 to 0.0 in their best quarter under coach Matthew Buck.

Held to one touch in the first quarter by Belinda Smith, star forward Vescio emerged to play a crucial hand in back-back goals, kicking one and setting up Mia Austin as the Blues built momentum.


The Eagles, meanwhile, were struggling to get their hands on the ball and weren't getting enough reward for the high level of pressure they continued to bring to the contest.

When Dal Pos earned a free kick inside 50 and converted her set shot, the margin had blown out to 27 points and it was hard to see the Eagles kicking the score needed to mount a challenge after the main break.

They did have periods of ascendency in the second half, particularly through the final term, but were unable to capitalise on periods of momentum on the scoreboard.

Captain Emma Swanson (27 disposals and four clearances) did a power of work in the midfield, while Ella Roberts (18 and a goal) contributed to an improved pressure performance.


Slick Blues go end-to-end
The play that showed the Blues meant business came in the opening minute of the second term, with the match well and truly alive. After intercepting a West Coast entry, the Blues launched immediately and Vickers and Skepper were both involved in a rapid chain of possessions that ended with Mimi Hill hitting Erone Fitzpatrick inside 50. Her accurate set shot launched a run of three goals in three minutes in the match-defining burst.

Eagles ruck approach hurts
West Coast made the difficult selection decision to drop young ruck Sarah Lackay after last week's loss to Gold Coast, going into Sunday's clash with the 180cm Lauren Wakfer and support at times from Kellie Gibson. The Eagles lost the hit-outs (57-15) convincingly and were edged in clearances (33-23). They have the midfield talent to take it up to opponents, most notably through captain Swanson and Aisling McCarthy, Bella Lewis and Roberts when she is in the midfield. But finding a solution in the ruck is a pressing need. 

Up next
West Coast hits the road for a Sunday afternoon clash with Sydney at Henson Park, starting at 1.05pm AEST. The teams have never previously met, with the Swans in their second AFLW season. Carlton is back at IKON Park for a clash with Richmond, starting at 1.05pm AEST on Saturday. The Blues, who will be travelling home on a six-day break, lost last year's meeting by 10 points.


WEST COAST        1.0   1.0   2.2   3.6 (24)
CARLTON             1.2   5.4   8.5   12.5 (77)

West Coast: Hooker, Roberts, Rowley
Carlton: Skepper 3, Austin 2, Moody 2, Vescio 2, Dal Pos, Fitzpatrick, Goss

West Coast: Swanson, Lewis, Hooker, Roberts, McCarthy
Carlton: Skepper, Hill, Moody, McKay, Vescio, Sherar, Good, Vickers

West Coast: Nil
Carlton: Nil

Reports: Nil

Crowd: 1,208 at Mineral Resources Park