Bombers star Prespakis took to the streets for silly mistake against former team Carlton in narrow loss

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The fierce Carlton-Essendon rivalry has spilled over into the AFLW as the Blues withstood an onslaught last season to win their first clash by the tiniest of margins.

Trailing by 21 points in the last substitution, the Bombers scored the only three goals of the last term before Carlton held 5.2 (32) to 4.7 (31) Sunday at Port Melbourne.

Essendon’s Jo Doonan had the last two shots of the game, but the first hit the post and the second also missed with 35 seconds left.

Captain Kerryn Peterson then took the kick and after his long bomb into a crowded wing, Carlton was able to close the game.

Blues coach Daniel Harford said his side deserved to win based on their first three quarters but there was a lot to look forward to from the past season.

“At the end of the day, it’s better to learn lessons with four points in the bag than not,” he said.

Blues star Darcy Vescio scored three goals and proved the difference.

“When Darcy does things, our team keeps busy. It was really nice to see Darc back to form today,” Harford said.

All eyes were on Essendon star Maddy Prespakis and, to a lesser extent, Georgia Gee after their high-profile move from Carlton to the expansion club.

A Prespakis goal last season brought Essendon within three points of her former club and she joined Carlton’s Mimi Hill with a record 21 possessions, while Gee had 10 disposals.

But Prespakis was left with a rudimentary error at the end of the first term.

She landed a long-range set-piece on goal and went wide off her line as she fired the spot-kick.

The problem was that the quarter-time siren had sounded and so Prespakis was not allowed to shoot.

Indeed, for the first three terms Essendon looked like a freshman club as the Blues took control, extending their lead with each change.

But as Essendon conceded two goals in the third quarter, they were starting to even the clearances and contested possessions.

That set the stage for an absorbing final term, in which the Bombers had the first 13 possessions and scored three goals in the opening minutes to put pressure on Carlton.

The Blues have kept their composure as three-time All-Australian Peterson moved from her new role on the wing to her usual defensive position over the past season.

“There’s a lot to like about it. I don’t know if it will be every week, but it’s good to have it up our sleeve,” Harford said of Peterson’s surprise work in midfield.

Bombers coach Natalie Wood said her team would gain a lot of confidence in their second AFLW match, which left the two sides 1-1.

“It’s fantastic for us to now have this belief, that no matter what stage of the game we can find our way back,” she said.


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