“Brave” Blues hang on against spirited Swans

ON the eve of a thrilling men’s Grand Final, Carlton’s women held on for their own nail-biting victory against Sydney on Friday. Another strong second term proved the difference as the Blues held on to win by five points at IKON Park, outplucking the plucky Swans despite kicking only one goal after half time.

With Sydney surging heading into the final break, Carlton was encouraged to be “brave” by coach Mathew Buck. Though he was again “proud” of his side’s ability to withstand pressure, he admitted such close calls can be stressful for coaches, players and fans alike.

“I like winning don’t get me wrong, but those tight ones take a few years off your life I think,” Buck said post-match. “Proud of the team, they hung in. We practice scenarios at training, it’s good to be able to see them put that into practice out there on the field.

“I just think we needed to be brave in that last quarter. Win, lose, or draw, it was probably more important how we played than the result to be honest… we looked to come through the middle a little bit. They were brave in pretty tough conditions in a hard last quarter.”

Aware of the Swans’ tendency to employ an uncontested, kick-mark style, Carlton put an emphasis on scoring from turnover and backed its defence to stand up under pressure. Skipper Kerryn Peterson was an organisational centrepiece down back, while ruck-forward Breann Moody disrupted the airways.

“We knew they like to kick-mark the ball and they really go for the kicks, but we thought it’d give us opportunity in the game – how good could we be off turnover,” Buck said. “We’ve probably got some growth in that area but we made the most of some of our opportunities and in the end it was enough. 

“What we’ve gone to work on over preseason is our contest and our defence. We think it holds up pretty well and we pride ourselves on that. To keep Sydney, who we think is a pretty good side, to six goals for the game was a good effort from us.

“(Peterson) battled through really well and she copped a couple of knocks throughout the day but she’s a terrific leader. I can give her the message and she takes it out there and implements it… (Moody) was exceptional today and she’s trying to add some layers to her game with her forward craft… the contested marks were probably the difference in the game in the end.”

While standards in performance have been the priority under Buck’s tenure to date, results are well and truly taking care of themselves for the Blues. They now sit eighth with a positive 3-2 record and a favourable draw to come.

Carlton next travels to face Western Bulldogs at the revamped Whitten Oval on Friday night, with games against four more bottom 10 clubs – Collingwood, GWS, Essendon, and St Kilda – to come. Meanwhile, Sydney’s 2-3 record is good enough for 13th, with trip to face Port Adelaide next on the agenda.

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