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AFLW: Fremantle salvage a draw with Carlton after conceding three last-quarter goals

Fremantle blew a golden opportunity to score their first victory of the season and consigned Carlton to a remarkable second straight draw after Docker Aine Tighe missed the potential match-winning kick.

Dominant in the first half, the Dockers kicked four straight goals until half-time but conceded three majors in a frenetic final quarter as the Blues mounted a spirited comeback.

Tighe had the chance to put Fremantle ahead from 15 metres out with a minute and 20 seconds to play after receiving a free kick for holding.

But she nudged her kick wide, levelling the scores at 5.2 (32) apiece. Fremantle threw everything at the last 60 seconds but couldn’t find a clear opening to goal, with the side now winless through their first four games of the season.

Sport. AFLW. Fremantle Dockers v Carlton Blues. Docker Mim Strom and Blue Keeley Sherar.
Camera IconMim Strom wraps up Keeley Sherar. Credit: Jackson Flindell/The West Australian

“I said to all of the girls when there’s a draw, every player and every coach thinks, ‘what could I have done to change that result?’. It’s a natural feeling,” coach Trent Cooper said.

“Those feelings won’t help us. We’ve got to park them and remain positive.

“Aine is the same as a few others who probably did something which could’ve changed the event, including myself.”

Cooper said the Dockers are no longer thinking about finals despite starting the season as contenders.

“If we want to challenge, we want to be in the position where we can win a premiership. I think it’s fair to say at this stage we’re not playing at that level,” he said.

“If we sneak into the eight or not…we want to get back to playing our really good footy. With that things will maybe look after themselves but maybe we’re already too far back at this stage.

Sport. AFLW. Fremantle Dockers v Carlton Blues. Docker Gabby O'Sullivan marks.
Camera IconGabby O’Sullivan is back at half-forward and flying for marks. Credit: Jackson Flindell/The West Australian

“We’ve still got a lot of work to do and a lot of areas to improve on.”

It left Carlton with a second hollow feeling in as many weeks after last round’s draw against Port Adelaide.

The Blues lost Phoebe McWilliams to a foot injury and Amelia Velardo (head knock) also didn’t finish the game, forcing coach Daniel Harford to shuffle the magnets.

Carlton also put a spare player behind the ball, giving themselves run from behind while disrupting Fremantle’s attack.

Sport. AFLW. Fremantle Dockers v Carlton Blues. Blues player Amelia Velardo leaves the ground injured.
Camera IconAmelia Velardo came off injured after a collision. Credit: Jackson Flindell/The West Australian

Fremantle star Kiara Bowers could come under MRO scrutiny for the tackle that left Velardo concussed.

It was one of 17 she lay throughout the contest to go with 11 touches but the Dockers are still working with Bowers to improve her offensive game.

“For us to be a good side, we need her more on the outside ball,” Cooper said.

“It’s not natural so it’s going to take some time. But I can’t complain when we’ve got someone charging around like she does and applying the pressure she does.”

The stage is set for one of the tightest western derbies in Fremantle and West Coast’s short-lived AFLW rivalry after the Eagles improved their record to 2-2 ahead of Thursday’s clash.

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