With stronger measures taken to lock down each state due to the coronavirus pandemic, it’s unclear how the AFLW finals could progress but, for now, the Blues have sealed their place in the last four.
The Blues midfield were strong throughout with Maddy Prespakis (18 disposals), Kerryn Harrington and Chloe Dalton constantly in the play, while speedy forward Georgia Gee helped turn the game with three goals in the second half.
Brisbane were far better than the final margin showed as Alexandra Anderson, Bates, Jess Wuetschner and others battled hard without much reward on the scoreboard.
The Lions did their best to curtail the Blues’ running game in the opening term as they repeatedly regained possession at half-back, and eventually that possession turned into a goal with Wuetschner, who missed the start of the season after being struck by lightning at work, snapping truly from the forward pocket.
The Blues claimed it was touched off the boot, but the umpires didn’t see it that way.
But Carlton did find a way to get on to the scoreboard as Nicola Stevens sent a kick inside forward 50 and was pushed over, with the free kick awarded to Harris down field, before a 50-metre penalty saw her moved to the goal square where she converted.
The Lions had a two-point lead heading into the second term, but it was quickly lost as the Blues worked the ball into their forward line and found the reliable Darcy Vescio, who converted on the run.
Both defences ruled the roost in the second term even when the ball was pushed deep into the forward lines, with the Blues holding a six-point advantage at the main break after just three goals were kicked in the opening half.
The Blues came out a more organised team in attack in the second half, and it was forward Gee who made a splash, kicking two goals for the quarter.
The Lions pulled a goal back via forward Jesse Wardlaw late in the term after a 50-metre penalty against Carlton which saw the Blues go into three-quarter time with a 15-point lead.
Gee kicked her third with a classy crumbling goal early in the last term that pushed the lead to 27 points, while Lucy McEvoy’s major in the final minutes underlined Carlton’s edge in class.
Roy Ward is a Sports writer for The Age.