Carlton and Port Adelaide have played out the first draw of the AFLW season after Blues first-gamer Lily Goss’s long kick towards goal on the final siren fell short.
The Blues trailed by 13 points at halftime and threatened to run over the top of their less experienced opponents at Ikon Park on Sunday.
They kept the Power to just one behind after the main break and Goss won a free kick for high contact from Kate Surman with just seconds left, giving her the chance to win the game.
She launched her kick from just outside the 50-metre arc as the siren sounded, but it was spoiled by a Power defender and stopped short of the goal line.
The teams finished locked on 4.3 (27) apiece in a result that denied expansion side Port Adelaide their first win in the national competition.
It came after the Power suffered losses to West Coast and the Western Bulldogs in the opening two rounds of their debut season.
“It’s another frustrating result, however, we just keep on taking so much from every game that we play,” Port Adelaide coach Lauren Arnell said.
“We’re generating more and more belief in what we’re capable of, and there’s massive growth in that.
“There’s a little bit of pride there and then there’s that frustration of you create another opportunity to win a game that’s not quite there.
“We’ll stick together and keep working towards that first win.”
Carlton had three players celebrating their 50-game milestones – Elise O’Dea, Jessica Dal Pos and Breann Moody – and all kicked goals.
O’Dea gave them the perfect start with one of two Blues majors in the first quarter but Port Adelaide hit back with a stunning surge in the second term.
Jade De Melo kicked two goals as the Power piled on four in quick succession to hit the front before halftime.
Moody and Dal Pos kicked the only two goals of the second half to get Carlton within two points early in the final term.
Darcy Vescio and Vaomua Laloifi both had chances to put the Blues in front but scored behinds that were only enough to level the scores.
It left Carlton with a win, a draw and a loss from the opening three rounds.
“I’m really pleased with how we responded in the second half,” Blues coach Daniel Harford said.
“We were comprehensively outplayed in that second quarter, out-hunted and outworked.
“But to be able to rally and rebound from that and get to a point where we could win the game was really pleasing because that second quarter looked pretty disastrous in many respects.”
Captain Kerryn Peterson (21 disposals), Mimi Hill (19) and Abbie McKay (26) were among the best for Carlton, who lost Maddy Guerin to a knee injury in the first quarter.
Impressive 18-year-old midfielder Hannah Ewings (21 disposals) was outstanding for Port Adelaide, who were also well served by Angela Foley (14), Abbey Dowrick (14) and Phillips (13).
Power defender Ebony O’Dea kept Vescio goalless from seven disposals.
The draw was Carlton’s first since the inaugural AFLW season in 2017.