AFLW Season 7 Review: Carlton Blues
Even though they weren’t expecting to set the world on fire, it was still a frustrating season for Blues fans. Managing just two wins and adding two frustrating draws in consecutive weeks, season seven is surely a season to forget as they push forward in their bid to move up the AFLW ladder.
Final position: 14th (two wins, two draws, six losses)
There wasn’t much for Blues fans to be excited about in season seven, but they presented themselves as a pretty solid defensive unit throughout the year.
Carlton conceded the fewest runs of any team seated outside the top eight. Although it didn’t matter as much due to his rather lackluster attacking game plan, it was clear that the backline was quite a strong area.
Vaomua Laloifi starred for the Blues throughout the season, playing some of the best football in his career. She earned herself a spot on the AFLW All-Australian Team of 40 in the process, as one of only two Blues to do so.
Lucy McEvoy took her game to the next level in season seven. She was very present in defense for the Blues and played brilliant football, especially in the second half of the season.
Book Gab and Darcy Vescio both spent time at either end of the pitch, but were hugely influential when in defence, with the latter playing as a defender for the first time in his career.
Meanwhile, the club captain Kerryn Peterson was also brilliant every time she played there, although she also spent more time in midfield throughout the year.
Either way, whatever mix the Blues seemed to work with on defense, he ended up doing a pretty decent job. Had their defensive game plan been better complemented in other areas of the pitch, we certainly could have seen improved results from the Blues throughout the season.
What went wrong?
The Blues’ defensive abilities were clearly quite decent but they struggled to meet any type of challenge going forward, sitting 15th in the competition in points scored.
They played football that many saw as uninspiring and predictable, which led to disappointing results throughout the season. The two draws against Port Adelaide and Fremantle could have easily been avoided with a more aggressive approach, but nothing came of the two games.
This was obviously rectified to some degree in Round 7, with coach Daniel Harford devising radically different tactics from what was offered in the first six rounds.
It was difficult for the club to recoup the points lost in the final rounds given the tough set of opponents they faced, with the Tigers, Suns and Bulldogs all playing brilliant football throughout. year round.
Ultimately, the Blues’ offensive game plan simply wasn’t up to par in season seven, and not enough was done until it was too late.
Abbie McKay really took her game to the next level in season seven. She struck up a brilliant bond with Mimi’s Hilland went from being a role player to being a key cog in Carton’s midfield.
McKay’s development was evident from the first round, where she had one of her best career games to date against Collingwood, and from there she never looked back.
A big reason for some of the Blues’ best performances this season, McKay will continue to be one of their most crucial players and a centerpiece for the team as they climb up the AFLW ladder.
Somewhere else, Keeley Skepper was impressive in her first AFLW season. Making her debut in their Round 2 win over the Bombers, Skepper stayed with the Blues for the rest of the season, developing well throughout and showing she has what it takes to cut it to the top. level.
His hard work resulted in a nomination for the AFLW 22 Under 22 squad, alongside teammates McKay, Hill and McEvoy. It was a well-deserved nomination for a player who will continue to develop in 2023 and beyond.
More reviews from the AFLW season:
AFLW Season 7 Review: Hawthorn Hawks
AFLW Season Seven Review: West Coast Eagles
AFLW Season 7 Review: Port Adelaide
The highest point:
The Blues were hardly the favorites for their Round 7 game against St Kilda at RSEA Park, but went on to claim what was by far their most impressive victory of the season.
Blues manager Daniel Harford made a big tactical change, sending star striker Darcy Vescio to the flank at half-back and keeping Gab Pound in the forward role she had filled in previous weeks.
It worked wonders as Vescio played brilliantly in his new position, defending firmly and moving the ball across the floor superbly.
In terms of style of play too, the Blues were much more aggressive overall with their ball movement, looking for better opportunities rather than just bombarding the ball in the hope that it would find a target. It was ultimately a successful change.
The new style of play, as well as ruck dominance Brean Moody and the elegant play of midfield stars McKay and Hill, gave Carlton a much-needed 27-point victory over the Saints.
It was by far the Blues’ most impressive game of the year, and a performance they hope to replicate more often in the future.
The lowest point:
Carlton has had some frustrating moments this season. A few different results will be viewed with disappointment in the end, but the Blues’ 10-point loss to Richmond in the eighth inning was certainly one of the hardest pills to swallow. Especially since it came just a week after their brilliant win over the Saints.
The Blues’ season was still up in the air as they faced the Tigers, but they couldn’t afford to make a mistake if they were to have any chance of sneaking into the top eight.
They took a practical advantage in the first break, with a margin of up to 25 points. The Blues had four goals against the Tigers in the quarter and led by 19 points on the first substitution.
Although they didn’t add to their goal tally in the second, they still somewhat held the Tigers at bay to maintain the halftime lead.
It was at this point that a win began to become more and more achievable for Richmond, cutting the deficit in the second half and claiming the lead, before running away with the victory.
This result was obviously poor as it meant the season was over for Carlton, but the position the team had put themselves in at the start of the game and the opportunity they had to make the most of it was ultimately wasted. That’s what made it the hardest task for the Blues to digest in the end.
What is the next step ?
Although the season was generally quite disheartening for Carlton and his fans, there were still good signs throughout.
A hard-fought win against traditional rivals Essendon, a dominating win over Saints and the emergence of young stars and key players will all be positives for the Blues in 2023.
In recent years, the Blues have lost a lot of talent to other clubs and that has shown on the pitch. Making good use of the draft and trade periods will be of utmost importance to the club over the next two years as they try to climb the ranks.
They have already developed a solid core around which they can build in the near future. Moody’s are still one of the best rucks in the league, young stars Hill, McKay, McEvoy and Skepper among others have all stepped up this season, and they also have a strong group of veterans who are still fit and shooting. .
Names like Vescio, Peterson, Pound, Laloifi, Elise O’Deaand Jess DalPos will be crucial in the development of this Carlton team with the arrival of young players.
With the roster the Blues currently have, if they can keep the squad together and maintain some consistency while filling in the gaps that need filling, resurgence shouldn’t be too far away.
The Carlton AFLW team have been impressive over the years and are looking to get back to that level as soon as possible.
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