14/04/2024

Can the Blues build on a promising ending to last season? (Photo: Carlton Women's/Twitter; Design: Will Cuckson)

After a promising ending to last season, the Blues will be looking to continue to build despite several key departures this past offseason.

Last season:

Eighth (four wins, six losses)

It was a struggle to start the 2022 season for the Blues, losing five of their opening six games, all against eventual finalists.

However, in the back end of the season, they gave the fans a little bit of hope that not all was lost. They won three in a row before falling to Melbourne by one point at the last hurdle of the season.

Maddy Prespakis shone in what would be her final season in navy blue. Mimi Hill exploded when she made her much-anticipated return from injury and ended the season with the Rising Star.

Amongst the other stars of 2022 were Breann Moody, who took her game to a new level, while Kerryn Peterson and Gab Pound starred down back, with the former earning her third All-Australian blazer.

What to look forward to:

Whilst this season might not be as fruitful as other seasons, the Blues do have a side that could cause potential headaches.

With the losses this offseason, coach Daniel Harford might look to some of the younger brigade including Hill, Madeleine Guerin, Keeley Sherar, and Abbie McKay to step up.

They also have their experienced heads in Mua Laloifi, Peterson, Moody, Darcy Vescio, Pound, and new recruit Phoebe McWilliams to help guide the younger ones.

The balance of old and new may be hard to strike, but if it gels, it won’t be all doom and gloom at Ikon Park.

Biggest unanswered question:

Many Carlton fans are still wondering how Harford will flip the magnets in the midfield this coming season.

In an offseason that saw many big names depart, their midfield depth was hit hardest. However, it was hurt even more when Lucy McEvoy went down with a shoulder injury that will see her miss the first half of the season.

While they’ve brought in the likes of Lily Goss and have other talent including Hill, Guerin and McKay to cover her loss, if Harford doesn’t manage to make the right moves it could be a long season for Blues fans.

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It’s a big year for…

Following a superb return in the second half of the 2022 season, Mimi Hill will now need to step up once more in season seven.

Averaging 21.5 disposals, 2.7 marks, 2.3 tackles, three clearances, and 282.2 metres gained in only six games, she went on to win the 2022 NAB Rising Star.

With a full preseason under her belt now, she could be set to take her game up another level in possibly a new role on the inside.

Fixture highlights:

Carlton will have a massive fortnight to open the season, taking on two old rivals in Collingwood and newcomers Essendon.

The game against the Bombers will be particularly emotional-filled, with Prespakis and Gee likely to be in the red and black when they meet in Port Melbourne.

The Blues will get plenty of time in the spotlight too with at least five Friday night free-to-air games, four of which will come in the back end of the season.

Full fixture:

R1: vs Collingwood, August 25 (Ikon Park)

R2: vs Essendon, September 4 (ETU Stadium)

R3: vs Port Adelaide, September 11 (Ikon Park)

R4: vs Fremantle, TBD (Fremantle Community Bank Oval)

R5: vs Melbourne, September 23 (Ikon Park)

R6: vs GWS Giants, October 1 (Henson Park)

R7: vs St Kilda, October 7 (RSEA Park)

R8: vs Richmond, October 14 (Ikon Park)

R9: vs Gold Coast, October 21 (Metricon Stadium)

R10: vs Western Bulldogs, TBD (Ikon Park)

Ins/Outs:

Ins: Phoebe McWilliams (Geelong), Amelia Velardo (Collingwood), Taylor Ortlepp (rookie signing), Keeley Skepper (Murray Bushrangers), Mia Austin (Eastern Ranges), Lily Goss (Carlton VFLW), Jessica Jones (North Melbourne VFLW)

Outs: Lauren Brazzale (Collingwood), Grace Egan (Richmond), Georgia Gee (Essendon), Courtney Jones (Gold Coast), Madison Prespakis (Essendon), Nicola Stevens (St Kilda), Charlotte Wilson (Melbourne)

Predicted Round 1 line-up:

Design: Will Cuckson

Ladder range:

Ninth-12th

While many might think they could finish lower, the Blues can still push hard this season like they did in the last.

It could be set to be a similarly tough start, facing three of season six’s top five in the opening half of the season along with an Essendon side many predict to do well.

However, if they win at least two in that period, it could set them up nicely to finish around that mid-table mark in the second half where they face no sides that finished in the top eight.

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1 thought on “AFLW Season Seven Preview: Carlton Blues

  1. Good review Josh.
    I was slightly more buoyant than your final prediction but that depends on the two key factors you mentioned – if they win early and if the old and new mix well.
    The blue girls have a relatively easy draw with only Collingwood, Melbourne and Freo and unlikely win games. The rest are ‘winnable’ to me! Add to those two factors above is the unknown of injuries. Big Boy is a huge blow.
    But the unknown could happen. North Melbourne AFLM boys would be on no-wins if it wasn’t for covid and injuries!!
    My main change for your Round 1 line up is swapping Pound and Skepper. Keeley Skepper was recruited as a running mid or forward, not a defender. Pound loves the backline and is itching to unleash some barrels!

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