Essendon VFLW has secured its first win of the season, defeating Carlton by 17 points at Windy Hill on Saturday.
The Bombers controlled the majority of the contest with higher pressure and intensity to claim the 5.2 (32) to 2.3 (15) victory.
Alex Quigley opened the goalkicking in the early minutes, while back-to-back goals to Carlton’s Mia-Rae Clifford and Natalie Plane handed the visitors their five-point lead at the first break.
Both teams struggled to gain possession of the footy in the second term, with the first major scored 19 minutes in via Hayley Bullas.
Although the majority of the play was spent in the Blues’ forward 50, Kendra Heil and Lauren Ahrens did well to cut off any attempts at goal as the Bombers held a one-point lead at half-time.
Essendon’s intensity lifted in the third term, as it looked to stretch its lead.
Quigley hit the scoreboard early, while Maighan Fogas impressed with her run through the midfield which saw the Bombers claim a higher set-shot advantage.
Skipper Courtney Ugle and vice-captain Simone Nalder led by example, capitalising on every opportunity despite the scrappy contest.
Lori Stepnell left fans stunned as she managed to score a contender for goal of the year that had to be seen to be believed.
With just one minute remaining in the third quarter, Stepnell snapped a goal while laying flat on the ground.
The Bombers dominated play early in the fourth – their increased aggressiveness in the contests standing out.
Conceding just two goals for the match, the Dons did well to stem the Blues’ momentum.
Quigley booted her third in the final minutes of the game, pushing the margin to 17 points at the final siren.
The inaugural leading goalkicker was back at her impermeable best, but Quigley said it wasn’t easy to get there.
“It’s been a bit of a tough few weeks trying to work my way back into the team. So, it felt good to be out there,” Quigley said.
“But it’s just a credit to how strong our team actually is, to be able to work my way back in.”
Quigley said the forwards did well to execute their game plan.
“It was all the hard work from our high forwards and our midfielders. I think our defensive pressure and our grunt around the ball was our main thing to focus on.
“I think with the forward line, there are a few things we have to work on, but I think our defensive pressure was really strong.”
Coming off the back of three straight losses, the Bombers held on to secure their first win for the season.
Coach Brendan Major said he was pleased with the team’s effort.
“It’s good, I mean it’s only a two per cent step-up from what they showed the first couple of rounds, we just managed to really defend and cut off their scoring,” Major said post-game.
“So, again, we probably didn’t kick as many goals as we wanted to, but it’s only a two per cent increase from what we showed in round one and round two, but we just did it for a bit longer.
“We play our best football when we’re really competitive around the ball and we’re really hunting them, and then when we get it, we can actually use the space.”
Essendon VFLW will have a bye in round five, before returning home to Windy Hill to face Hawthorn.
“Having a bye at this point in the season gives us a chance to refresh the group a little bit. They’ve fought really hard and haven’t got the rewards that they wanted early in the season, so to get a bit of reward today was good,” Major said.
“We’ll give them a bit of a refresh, get the little niggles out, give them a training session off and then get back into it.”
The first bounce will be at 11:30am on Saturday, June 15.
Essendon 1.1 2.2 4.2 5.2 (32)
Carlton 2.0 2.1 2.3 2.3 (15)
Essendon – Quigley 3, Bullas, Stepnell
Carlton – Plane, Clifford
Victoria Raptis is in the final year of her Bachelor of Communications (Journalism) degree at RMIT University. As part of their strategic partnership, Essendon Football Club and RMIT University are committed to providing opportunities for students, staff, players and the wider community.