The Gold Coast SUNS have come within inches of a remarkable comeback, falling just short in its 2023 AFLW season opener against Carlton.
The SUNS kicked the game’s final three goals, narrowing the deficit from 23 points to just two with minutes to play, but were unable to quite reign the Blues in.
Forward pressure and repeat inside 50s was the order of the day at various stages for both sides with the Blues making the better of their opportunities before the SUNS charged home late.
Charlie Rowbottom was at her contested best to kick start her third AFLW season, finishing with 25 touches and a rare goal with Claudia Whitfort also winning plenty of the ball.
Rowbottom was one of five single goalkickers for the SUNS with Jordan Membrey, Tara Bohanna and Jamie Stanton all getting on the scoreboard in the final term.
Debutant Meara Girvan had the arduous task of facing Blues forward Darcy Vescio, finishing with 10 touches, as did fellow first gamer Alana Gee.
Irishwoman Niamh McLaughlin showed plenty for SUNS fans to be excited by in her first taste of AFLW, while experienced cohort Alison Drennan (18 touches), Kalinda Howarth (15) and Daisy D’Arcy (14) were influential.
The SUNS now return home to Heritage Bank Stadium for the first home game of 2023, facing West Coast on Saturday, September 9.