Blues finally on the march in AFLW

Tayla Harris of the Blues is tackled by Catherine Phillips of the Saints Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images

An inspiring on-ball performance by Maddy Prespakis set up Carlton to break through for their first win of the AFLW season against St Kilda on Saturday afternoon.

Prespakis was unstoppable with her ball-winning ability to amass 24 possessions in the Blues' 6.4 (40) to 2.4 (16) win in sunny conditions at RSEA Park.

The Saints assigned Cat Phillips to a heavy tag on Prespakis in the second half, but the competition's 2020 best and fairest winner emphasised why she won the highest individual award.

Carlton's ability to kick goals from Alison Downie and Nicola Stevens into the wind in the third quarter was also pivotal to the breakthrough victory after one of the flag favourites started the season with two losses.

"We went back to the drawing board and worked on everything and worked on our team game. At the end of the day, we just started playing footy for the enjoyment," Prespakis said.

"We looked at it as team care, to get around each other and pick each other up. You cop a lot of negativity when you're losing and it's not fun, but we stuck together really well."

The Blues released Elise O'Dea from a midfield unit to alternate in attacking and defensive roles with the wind and when kicking into it.

But they lost nothing from her absence around the centre bounce duels and stoppages as young midfielders Grace Egan (24 possessions) and Abbie McKay (17) stepped up to the task.

O'Dea was a spare player in the backline when the Saints kicked to the scoring end in the first and third quarter. And the former Melbourne leader was a handy assistant for Mua Laloifi in the huge task of containing dangerous goalkicker Caitlin Greiser.

She finished with 21 disposals and adapted quickly to the role of a forward, kicking Carlton's opening major from a free in the first minute of the second quarter.

Greiser had underlined the problems she posed by goalling on the run with her only touch of the opening period as the Saints attacked with the strong breeze at their backs.

Carlton hit back after a scoreless first term, building on the ruck work of Breann Moody and the busy Prespakis around the packs.

It was no surprise that Prespakis booted the Blues' first goal with a quick left foot shot from a stoppage in the second quarter. It was already her 13th possession in the brilliant on-ball display.

St Kilda had individual winners, like defender Rhiannon Watt keeping Blues forward Tayla Harris goalless. But the Blues collective teamwork and pressure was far superior.