It may have been the last round before the AFLW Grand Final next week between Brisbane and Adelaide but that didn’t mean that Brisbane and Carlton didn’t have anything to fight for in the final match of the inaugural AFLW season.
In a hot afternoon at Ikon Park, the hosts rallied in the final term to come back from 24-points behind, however they were not able to hand the Lions their first defeat of the season, the game ending in an exhilarating draw.
(Carlton captain Lauren Arnell leaves the field after the Round Seven draw with Brisbane. PHOTO: AFL Photos)
‘It was a fantastic fightback from our girls and I think it just shows that we’ve learnt so much through this season.’ Blues captain Lauren Arnell said post-match.
Reflecting on Carlton’s finish to the season, Arnell acknowledged her team’s evolution in such a short competition.
‘There were moments (during the game) where you think about the first loss we had in Adelaide, things were a little bit against us then and we dropped our heads a little and lost by three points, Melbourne was the same we lost by one goal. To be able to fight back like we did against an undefeated side who’ve only won in this competition was something I’m very proud of.’
Sunday’s draw marks the end of Carlton’s and five other Clubs season’s as we look to next week’s Grand Final but Arnell feels that there has been plenty of development in her team to drive them further next season.
‘From a whole competition perspective, I there has been endless positives for everybody, from a Club perspective and a personal perspective there’s been so much learning for me and so much learning for our Club.
I know that we’ll take as much learning as we possibly can into next year. We’re all very competitive people on and off field and we’re here to win as many games as possible. We approached this season with that attitude and unfortunately today’s our last game but we certainly have that fuel in the belly to learn as much as we can from this year.’
Looking forward to the 2018 season seems like a long way off but there is one thing Arnell has on her mind as a potential change moving forward with the AFLW completion
‘I like to be an optimist most of the time so certainly at this point I’m only thinking of positive things but I think the obvious thing to change is to have a Top 4, again we’re footballers, we’re competitive and we like playing footy, so the more the more opportunities we have to play for our great Club, that’s great for us. After today’s results we would’ve finished in there so at this point in time it would have been great to have a Top 4.’
Arnell now looks forward to what’s next but is also conscious that AFLW has an impact on how she approaches returning to her VFL side, the Darebin Falcons.
‘I’ve played 9 games already and it’s not even April. I’ve just turned 30 as well so for me it will be a case of looking after my body. We’ve got an incredible medical team here (at Carlton) so checking in them and assessing what I can do at VFL level and how I can best prepare for Carlton next year as well will be a balance. When I’m back at Darebin and if I can’t contribute on the field then I’ll contribute off field, whatever I can do – I’ll be guided by the medical staff.’