GWS Giants have the Blues without Nowra's Maddy Collier

The Greater Western Sydney Giants run onto the field before their round two AFLW match against Carlton at Drummoyne Oval. Photo: Craig Golding
The Greater Western Sydney Giants run onto the field before their round two AFLW match against Carlton at Drummoyne Oval. Photo: Craig Golding

THE AFL were determined to see a more attacking brand of AFL Women's football this weekend but the weather Gods had different ideas at Drummoyne Oval.

Carlton prevailed by 21 points over the GWS Giants, who were without the services of injured Nowra product Maddy Collier, but not before a half-hour delay at quarter time when a swirl of lightning and thunder accompanied the heavy rain lashing the ground.

And not before an injury to star Brianna Davey who was arguably best on ground before she rolled over on her left leg in the final quarter and was stretchered off from the soggy field. Giant Britt Tully also left the field with an AC joint injury in her shoulder, and didn't return.

A series of AFL directives were handed down to the women's clubs this week to encourage a more free-flowing brand of football following the opening round, during which Carlton's win over Collingwood in the season opener produced a goalless second half.

As the Giants and Blues lined up for the opening bounce on Friday, it looked like the AFL had their way.

The fans were keen to watch some attacking football too – 4952 piled into the ground, almost reaching the lockout capacity of 5000 but hundreds headed for home during the quarter-time storm.

Clubs were told the ball wouldn't be bounced unless each team lined up in a 5-6-5 formation – that is five players at each end of the ground, three midfielders accompanying the rucks in the centre and a wing on each side of the ground.

It didn't amount to a change in fortunes for the Giants though, who gamely went down to the Melbourne Demons in round one.

"It's an interesting week isn't it, Carlton won and probably got hounded a little bit and we lost and got told how well we played, the story might be a little bit different this week," GWS coach Alan McConnell said.

"[The AFL directives] didn't affect us too much and to be honest it didn't affect them, they got the same outcome they just did it a slightly different way to the week before.

“They certainly structurally had it all over us."

The AFL would have been delighted when Phoebe McWilliams goaled after less than five minutes, laying a strong tackle in the right forward pocket before going back and kicking truly after an enterprising build up by the Giants.

It was all the Giants saw of the Carlton goal in the quarter.

The visitors took control after that and dominated the territory battle in tricky conditions but missed a string of set shots to allow GWS a two-point lead at the main break.

By that stage the drizzle had turned into sheeting rain, and the eerily purple clouds hovering around Drummoyne Oval started shooting down bolts of lightning incredibly close to the ground.

The players ran off and an abandonment looked on the cards before the umpires invited the players to resume proceedings after about half an hour.

AFL officials stayed in constant contact with the Bureau of Meteorology and were advised the storm would ultimately pass by, as it did.

"I've played in a game where exactly the same thing happened and the opposite outcome occurred against the Swans a few years ago which I pointed out to them at the break," McConnell said.

"We started really well but I thought the momentum probably swung before the quarter time break a little bit and they certainly had the better of us for the next couple of quarters."

Conditions were already greasy enough in the first quarter and the short but heavy deluge ensured the rest of the match was played with a heavy ball and an environment not conducive to high scoring.

There were other directives handed out by the AFL this week, namely a 15-metre exclusion zone around stoppages and a suggestion to not flood defensively.

Just like TAC Cup matches, the exclusion zone is designed to reduce density around the football, and while the players appeared to observe this advice to some degree, the slippery conditions naturally drew more players to the football.

Stand-in Carlton coach Nick Rutley was delighted with how his players responded to the directives.

"They [the AFL] were really clear what they wanted to get from a product standpoint and we were clear as well in that this is a competition and we're playing to win," Rutley said.

"We thought we got the balance right tonight, the goals and points columns were a bit skewiff but I thought the way we moved the ball and the way we set up behind the play had a bit more of a free flowing style."

Carlton's win helped them to go clear atop the AFLW standings while the Giants are still chasing their first win of the season.

The Giants only managed three behinds after McWilliams' opener while Nicola Stevens and Darcy Vescio both kicked majors in the second half.

Giants captain Amanda Farrugia missed a set shot late in the third term from 20 metres out which would have given GWS a sniff after Jacinda Barclay had taken a superb pack mark, but it wasn't to be for the home side.

Full-time: Carlton Blues 0.4, 1.7, 3.7, 3.12  (30) defeated GWS Giants 1.0, 1.0, 1.2, 1.3 (9)

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