AFLW 2019 preview: Carlton Blues

Having bagged Carlton incessantly final season, it offers me real pleasure to see (I hope) a brighter future for them in 2019. Let’s begin with an statement about taking part in fashion. Earlier variations of the Blues noticed them taking part in a closely congested, defensive fashion of sport that wore on the nerves of all concerned. Just a few issues lead me to imagine this won't be the fashion that Coach Daniel Harford adopts this season. Firstly, he recruited Amelia Barden from Collingwood. Barden is one plug with which to fill the gaping void in Carlton’s midfield, however extra importantly for this practice of thought, she’s quick. Barden was wonderful within the final half of Collingwood’s 2018, and beloved nothing greater than to tuck the ball below her arm and run. Then the Blues recruited two cross-code rookies — Chloe Dalton and Brooke Walker, each nationwide reps from rugby sevens. Rugby gamers typically wrestle to grasp AFL abilities, however the one factor you may assure Dalton and Walker can do is take the sport on and run – and so you may see a sample rising in Carlton’s recruiting. If run-and-gun is what Harford intends for season 2019, there are good causes to suspect it'll work higher for Carlton than every other membership. Firstly, Carlton’s rock-solid basis is their half-back line, assuming it’s wholesome. Brianna Davey and Nicola Stevens are two of the perfect half-backs within the nation, and each like to run and damage their opponents on the counter-attack. Allison Downey is not any slouch both, and now the Blues have drafted gun defender Jayde Van Dyk from her VFLW MVP season at Hawthorn (a efficiency so dominant it dispels my regular issues about VFLW gamers hacking it within the professionals) and 17-year-old expertise Charlotte Wilson from the draft. Not solely is that this probably the second-best defensive lineup within the competitors (behind Brisbane), but it surely’s quick and likes to counter-attack. Then contemplate that up the opposite finish, Carlton have maybe the 2 greatest one-on-one forwards within the league. Darcy Vescio is contemporary from single-handedly murdering opposing groups within the VFLW, however has struggled to seize that kind within the AFLW. That is principally as a result of a sluggish, congested sport fashion leaves her combating by means of crowds like a client on the mall. The identical is true for Tayla Harris, who can beat almost anybody one-on-one, however has to this point not often had the possibility. But when the Blues had been to undertake a sport fashion of transferring the ball as quick as attainable within the hopes of catching Vescio and Harris’s opponents one-out, then their ahead line might lastly present the footballing world what it’s able to. (Picture by Michael Willson/AFL Media/Getty Pictures) Gab Pound, too, has improved a lot in her first couple of seasons that she’s on the verge of elite standing herself — there’s nearly nobody within the league who's as arduous on the ball. However between the explosive backline and the lethal ahead line, there’s been the pit of bleak despair within the center. Even there, Carlton have had quite a few stable B-grade gamers, however B-graders towards the league’s A-graders is rarely a profitable proposition, with the outcome usually ending in slaughter. However now from the heavens, amid a blast of trumpets, comes Maddison Prespakis to steer the Blues to the promised land. Sure, this is likely to be overstating issues barely… however then once more, she actually is that good. Prespakis will not be extremely quick, nor notably tall, however she is a ball-winning, stoppage-crushing machine — assume a younger, feminine Diesel Williams. Along with her within the workforce, Carlton can anticipate to win a sizeable variety of stoppages they’d in any other case have misplaced, and discover teammates hit with good passes from the thick of the congestion. At her facet shall be second-round decide Abbie McKay (daughter of Andrew, for those who’ve been residing below a rock with gum in your ears) who is sensible and skilful and also will have fast impression, and probably one of many draft’s steals in Emerson Woods, whose abilities would possibly want just a little work however was quickest within the draft mix over the 20 meters dash. All up it may not be the perfect midfield within the league, but it surely’s very aggressive and it’s even deep, with Jess and Sarah Hosking offering quick, nimble assist, and enforcer Katie Loynes including some bodily ache for opponents on the stoppages. Add all of it collectively, and Carlton’s 2019 lineup appears to be like to have what no different workforce within the league have save for the Bulldogs — an awesome steadiness throughout all components of the sphere. In the event that they make the Grand Last, not solely will they make hundreds of Carlton followers very glad, however AFL HQ as properly. Prediction: Second.