Carlton's Mimi Hill is making an impact in her first season in the AFLW. Image Source: @Carltonfc_w. Instagram

Carlton youngster Mimi Hill is excelling in what as been a wild but amazing first season at the Blues as they head into a must win game this weekend against Richmond.

As Carlton got its season back on track last Saturday with its win over St Kilda, came a moment that Mimi Hill will remember forever.

Having fallen short by a goal on each of the opening two rounds of the season, Saturday’s win came at just the right time, keeping the Blues within touching distance of the top 6 and finals race as the season moves on amid all the uncertainty.

Speaking to The Inner Sanctum this week, Hill was confident that after a performance like that, it can spur the group on and give them a real kickstart as they move further into the season.

“We all know what we’re capable of, at Carlton, it was so good to finally play as a unit and show the competition what we are made of,” she said.

Despite the frustrating start for the team, the vibe in the team has remained upbeat and level as they continue to resolve its “unfinished business” from last season.

It has been a bright start for Hill in her debut season in the AFLW, impressing with her speed and dash on the wing for the Blues with her performance in Round 2 earning her coaches’ votes.

Hill, crediting both the senior players and her younger teammates who have taken her under their wing since she arrived at the club.

“Elise O’Dea has been one to really take me under her wing,” she said

“She sent me a text and was like we’re starting at Carlton together, so exciting. Before every training, she sends me a text to see how I’m going. She’s one of the best people ever.”

“Lot’s of the younger players I’ve gotten along with really well as well. Abbie McKay, Brooke Vernon, they’ve been really good and welcoming too”

“I love the vibe down at the club.”

With no football at all being played in the Victorian winter last month, it was always going to be an interesting watch as to how some the draftees would cope with the jump from underage NAB League straight into AFLW.

Hill said that despite the massive jump in speed and conditioning and overall skill level, The strong pre-season played a role in bridging the gap.

“Throughout pre-season, your body gets prepared for the bigger hits, but when you’re playing and say there is a turnover, it can just get to the other end of the ground so quickly and you need to be prepared to just really work hard, from the ground, work defensively. That’s probably one of the main things,” she said.

“Throughout pre-season, I loved watching people like Georgia Gee. You watch her kick the ball and it’s the most amazing thing. I really feel like us draftees, our skills have really lifted just from being in this environment”

Hill also paid tribute to the pathways and systems that now exist in women’s footy circles that have allowed her and all the new draftees all the tools and training to excel in AFLW at the top level.

It certainly has been a crazy ride for Hill and all the AFLW draftees and players this year.

Stemming all the way back to the first-ever virtual draft seen in the AFL.

Despite the lockdown, it was still one of the great nights for Hill and her family.

“Sitting with my family on the couch, I had no idea that Carlton was going to take me. They were my number one but I didn’t tell anyone that,” Hill said

“When they called my name we all just jumped up, went out into the street, and just started playing the Carlton song and having a good time. I got so many messages from everyone. It was so overwhelming but so amazing at the same time”

This weekend marks an important game for Carlton on a number of fronts.

Not only will it be imperative for Carlton to back up its strong performance last week with another win against Richmond (The Hosking Cup), but it is also Carlton’s Carlton Respects Round. A week and cause that means so much to the football club.

Carlton will wear orange socks – orange being the universal colour for Harmony. Hill says it is really special to play for a club that champions and puts an emphasis on such a great and important cause.

“Hearing some of the stories the girls were telling me last week about some of the speakers that they have had, it’s so amazing what the club does, going to lots of different primary schools, educating and creating that great awareness about what is a massive issue, especially recently in the past year,” she said.

“I’m really excited to pull on the orange socks and play for that really good cause”

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