2020 AFL Women’s team preview: Carlton

COMING off a grand final loss Carlton will be looking to right their wrongs and claim that elusive first premiership. They showed that they have the skill and talent to perform on the big stage but will have to cover the loss of former captain Bri Davey who defected to arch rivals Collingwood in the off-season. Aside from Davey and Tilly Lucas-Rodd the line-up has remained relatively unchanged giving the Blues another shot at the finals if they play their cards right and continue their form from last season.

KEY PLAYER:
Tayla Harris (forward)

The talented forward is a real barometer for the Blues and can dictate the play for her side with her explosiveness. Harris’ lead up at the footy is hard to stop when on song using her long stride and strong hands to take her fair share of contested marks. Her work in the forward 50 is second to none consistently posing a threat whether the ball is in the air or at ground level. If she can get off to a hot start it will go a long way in forging the Blue’s finals tilt. The forward has proven that she can hit the scoreboard and welcomes the physicality given her boxing background.

RISING STAR:
Lucy McEvoy (midfield)

It will be hard to miss the likes of Lucy McEvoy with the Geelong Falcons product and pick number 2 in the draft able to have an impact anywhere on the ground. She is a readymade player who many can expect to hit the ground running with her impressive foot skills, spatial awareness and high footy IQ. She is not overawed by the bigger bodies often embracing the physical battle and prevailing. McEvoy offers plenty of versatility and doggedness across the field not afraid to put in the hard yards and never far away the contest. The natural born-leader captained her side to premiership glory in 2018 while also making the All-Australian team in 2019 making her a hot contender for the overall Rising Star nomination.

WATCH FOR:
Madison Prespakis (midfield)

After winning the 2019 Rising Star expect Prespakis to continue to grow and impose herself on the competition once again. Despite it only being her first season, the talented mid showed nothing but class and was not fazed by the bigger bodied and more experienced players. Much like McEvoy, Prespakis is versatile able to slot into any role and fulfil it to the highest ability. She is already a ball magnet and will only grow with further exposure to the highest possible level making her an exciting prospect for the Blues in 2020.

CONFERENCE OPPONENTS: Fremantle, Melbourne, Western Bulldogs, Collingwood, St Kilda, West Coast.

FIXTURE:

Round 1: @ Richmond
Round 2: vs. Collingwood
Round 3: @ Bulldogs
Round 4: @Adelaide
Round 5: vs. St Kilda
Round 6: @Melbourne
Round 7: vs. West Coast Eagles
Round 8: vs. Fremantle

The Blues will reignite their age-old rivalry with Collingwood in Round 2 with both sides hoping to get off to a flying start. the Blues are lucky enough to not have to make the trip over to Western Australia with both West Coast and Fremantle making the trek down south in back-to-back rounds. The grand final rematch will take place in Round 4 with the Blues travelling over to Adelaide in hope for some redemption.

PREDICTION: 1st/2nd in Conference

Carlton have a good mix of youth and experience with the young ones coming in littered with talent and considering the pool they are in should finish near the top of the ladder. Collingwood will be bolstered by the return of a couple of key players while Fremantle have proven time and time again that they should not be discounted. The 2018 premiers, Western Bulldogs always pose a threat and while they lost a chunk of players last season expect them to comeback with a vengeance in 2020. New teams in West Coast and St Kilda will have their work cut out for them up against some high quality teams that know what it takes to win at the elite level but all in all the Blues should take the cake.

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