CARLTON star Madison Prespakis had an injury scare on return from suspension as the Blues gave their AFLW finals hopes a boost with a comfortable 33-point win over Geelong.
Marquee forward Tayla Harris was left out of the selected side but Carlton still found plenty of avenues to goal, piling on their highest score of the season against the competition’s lowest-ranked team.
Darcy Vescio, Serena Gibbs and Georgia Gee kicked two goals each in the 10.4 (64) to 4.7 (31) victory at Ikon Park on Sunday.
The result kept Carlton in touch with the top six but came at some cost as young gun Mimi Hill had to be helped off the field by trainers after suffering a knee injury early in the final term.
Earlier, reigning league best-and-fairest Prespakis hurt her left elbow pushing off the ground while trying to feed out a handpass through traffic from her knees.
She spent quarter-time on the bench undergoing medical assessment and had the joint strapped, but returned to play a key role in the Blues’ midfield.
Prespakis finished with 27 disposals and a goal as Grace Egan (24) and Kerryn Harrington (21) joined her in racking up huge possession tallies.
Carlton had previously struggled to score in first quarters this season – managing a total of just 1.2 in five opening terms – and conceded Sunday’s first goal to Geelong’s Rebecca Webster.
But Vescio found space out the back to kick two goals in a minute to seize the lead and the Blues had four on the board by quarter-time.
Geelong forward Phoebe McWilliams and Blues defender Alison Downie both left the field temporarily after a nasty head clash during the second quarter, and the Cats lost Millie Brown to a right hamstring issue.
Amy McDonald, Sophie Van De Heuvel and Webster were Geelong’s best contributors.
Harris was listed as “managed” and will be available to return when Carlton host high-flying Fremantle in another crunch clash at Ikon Park in Round 7.
(C) AAP 2021
CARLTON 4.0 6.1 8.3 10.4 (64)
GEELONG 2.1 2.3 4.4 4.7 (31)
Goals: Carlton: D Vescio 2 G Gee 2 S Gibbs 2 G Pound M Prespakis N Plane N Stevens. Geelong: D Higgins O Barber R Cranston R Webster.
Umpires: Peter Bailes, Martin Rodger, Gen Devenish.
Venue: Ikon Park.