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Blues end Suns’ AFLW finals hopes

Carlton have snuffed out any hopes of a Gold Coast AFLW finals berth, beating the Suns by 30 points at Ikon Park to win their third game in a row

Mimi Hill (25 possessions) and Gab Pound (23) were prolific for the Blues, who ran out 7.4 (46) to 2.4 (16) winners.

“I love being back with the Baggers. It’s been great the last few weeks – there’s a really good energy around the group. It’s so exciting,” Hill said post-match.

The Suns headed into the final AFLW match of round nine needing a win to keep their finals chances alive, but it was the Blues who looked cleaner and more desperate early.

The ball was locked in Carlton’s forward half for much of the first quarter, with the Blues kicking three goals to none to lead by 18 points at quarter time.

Carlton forward Nicola Stevens – who hadn’t kicked a goal since round three – was the star early, nailing two classy left-foot snaps, with Jess Good kicking the only other first-quarter goal.

The Suns lifted their intensity in the second term, evening up tackles and clearances and eventually reaping the rewards on the scoreboard. Tara Bohanna marked strongly then converted from 40 metres out, before Ellie Hampson kicked the Suns’ second to put them back in touch.

The margin could have been trimmed further had Sarah Perkins taken advantage of a free kick straight in front of goal before halftime, but the star Suns forward could only manage a behind.

A strong contested mark at the top of the goal-square from Jess Good saw the Blues wrestle back momentum to start the second half, with a fierce Courtney Jones tackle and goal minutes later pushing the margin back out to 19 points.

The Suns fought hard in the final quarter, turning the contest into a scrap, but couldn’t break through on the scoreboard and eventually ran out of legs.

A brilliant Georgia Gee snap from the boundary and a late Darcy Vescio goal blew the margin out to 30 points.

Vaomua Laloifi was outstanding in defence for Carlton, intercepting and rebounding to set up plays from half-back all day, while Maddy Prespakis’s grunt work was pivotal.

The Blues will meet Melbourne at Casey Fields in their final match of the season next Saturday night, while the Suns will take on the Dockers at Fremantle Oval on Sunday.

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