After an offseason that saw them lose plenty of stardom, the Blue girls went on a rollercoaster of a season in 2022.
Finishing Position: 8th (Four wins, Six losses)
Carlton’s high disposal, kick and mark style under Daniel Harford was effective once more, particularly when it got back into the groove of things late on.
The Blues finished the season with the second most disposals (239.6), the fourth most kicks (142.2) & third most marks (47.3) per game.
Later on in the season they also started to gain plenty of chances and create plenty of pressure inside forward 50, averaging 33 inside 50’s, seven marks inside 50 and 15 tackles inside 50 per game.
The fixture did Carlton no favours for them at all, with the Blues facing all six finalists from 2021.
This included facing Collingwood, Brisbane on the Gold Coast, North Melbourne, Adelaide and Fremantle out west in the opening six rounds.
Those games they rarely got any chances to get it inside their forward half, averaging only 25 inside 50’s, three marks inside 50 and four tackles inside 50.
This season in general they lacked any real tackling pressure, averaging the lowest amount of tackles per game amongst all teams (50.8).
Madi Prespakis and Breann Moody are in firm contention for All-Australian selection after two terrific season’s.
Prespakis was dominant on the inside yet again, averaging 20.5 disposals, 9.8 contested possessions, 3.6 clearances and 3.5 tackles per game.
The energetic Moody improved from her 2021 season, averaging career highs in disposals (11.9), inside 50’s (3.1), contested possessions (6.4), metres gained (261.1) plus 19.7 hitouts, three marks and 2.2 clearances per game.
Mimi Hill came into the side in Round 5 following an ACL injury and did not look back. In only her second year she averaged 21.5 disposals, nine contested possessions, 282.1 metres gained and three clearances per game.
Gab Pound also had a strong season down back, averaging career highs in disposals (16.5), metres gained (248) plus 2.8 marks, 1.1 inside 50’s and 2.6 tackles per game.
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Highs and lows
Carlton showed plenty of promise toward the end of the season, winning three of their last four games against St Kilda, GWS and Gold Coast.
A special moment came in the second win against the Giants, with Darcy Vescio becoming the first AFLW player to reach the 50 goal mark.
The one loss in that streak was in the final round against premiership contender Melbourne at Casey Fields, going down by just one point.
It came after a rough patch in the middle of the season where they faced four finalists from this year and saw them lose by an average of 36.5 points.
Who’s on the move?
There haven’t been too many rumours/delisting coming out of Carlton yet.
However, the one biggest rumour is new girls Essendon chasing hard for two-time Carlton B&F and 2020 AFLW B&F winner Prespakis.
One player that could potentially move this offseason is defender Charlotte Wilson. The ex-Eastern Ranges had limited opportunities this year, playing three times and averaging only six disposals per game in those matches.
Carlton have a bit to improve on this offseason, but the main focus for them should be to become more fitter.
Whilst it did close out games at the end of the season (against sides that finished below them), they struggled to string together four quarter performances when facing top six sides and, just like the men’s side, couldn’t stop conceding goal runs.
When they faced Brisbane they conceded five in a row between the second and third quarter. Against the Kangaroos they allowed six consecutive goals, ending the goal run by kicking the last one of the match.
Minor premiers Adelaide kicked the final five goals in the last quarter and a half and Fremantle also scorched home out west with the last seven goals after Darcy Vescio kicked the first.
If they can improve in that area, then it’ll go a long way for Harford and his Blues bouncing right back up into finals contention.
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