Vescio’s fantastic five keeps Blues in finals hunt

Carlton got an early scare from the lowly Suns and then powered their way to the highest AFLW of all time, thanks to a Darcy Vescio masterclass.

Carlton star Darcy Vescio kept the Blues in the hunt for an AFLW finals berth with an outstanding individual performance in the 60-point win over the Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium on Friday night.

Vescio booted five goals in a forward master class to go to the top of the competition’s goalkicking standings for 2021 while also surpassing Adelaide’s Erin Phillips as the AFLW’s all-time leading goal kicker.

Carlton’s total of 13.9 (87) was the highest ever score in an AFL game. The Blues now need to beat GWS next week and hope for a series of results to go their way if they are to play finals after Vescio did everything in her power to keep Carlton’s hopes afloat.

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After the Suns kicked the first three goals of the match, Vescio kicked the next three herself to drag the Blues back into the contest and she continued to terrorise the Gold Coast.

Whether it was strong contested marks, sure set shots, clever snaps or working up the ground to create chances for teammates, Vescio was everywhere, doing everything. Her mark at the start of the fourth quarter was the highlight.

With a bit of luck, she could have had seven goals to her name.

Carlton started the match two wins and almost 28 per cent (108) behind the sixth-placed Melbourne. The Blues are now 4-4 after recording their biggest-ever AFLW win.

The Suns crumbled to their eighth loss from eight outings as they ran out of petrol after such a promising opening quarter.

Vescio kicked her fourth goal at the start of the third term and further majors to Lucy McEvoy, Nicola Stevens, Brooke Walker and Lauren Brazzale gave Carlton a commanding 33-point lead at the last change.

Carlton led by two points at halftime after a seesawing opening two quarters. The Suns got off to a red-hot start and established a 19-0 buffer after goals to Sam Virgo, Maddison Levi and Alison Drennan.

The Gold Coast were on top in contested possessions and tackles to highlight their early intent but Carlton stopped the rot with Vescio’s first goal late in the first quarter as the Suns took a 19-7 cushion into quarter-time.

Vescio continued her one-woman rampage after the break with two more goals including one major from a left-foot dribble kick under extreme pressure.

FADE OUT COULD PROVE COSTLY

The fourth quarter fade out against Freo could haunt Carlton for a long time. The Blues led the Dockers by 15 points with four minutes to play on Sunday but conceded three goals in a minute to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. What they would give to have that four minutes over again. They could miss the finals by the solitary win.

HORROR SEASON CONTINUES

The Suns are a young group who have had to endure a horror fixture in 2021 with five away games in a row but they have gone backwards after two wins and a draw in 2020. Eight losses from eight starts in 2021 is a disappointing result given the rays of sunshine in their debut campaign. They take on the winless Cats at Metricon Stadium next weekend to avoid the wooden spoon.

GOAL OF THE YEAR?

The Gold Coast’s Lucy Single put her hand up for a Goal of the Year nomination with multiple touches in a sweeping movement that started on the halfback flank and finished with her calmly slotting a running shot at goal.

SCOREBOARD

GOLD COAST 3.1 4.2 4.2 4.3 (27)

CARLTON 1.1 4.4 9.5 13.9 (87)

GOALS

Gold Coast: Virgo, Levi, Drennan, Single

Carlton: Vescio 5, Plane 2, McEvoy, Stevens, Walker, Brazzale, O’Dea, Moody

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