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Ayre defying tender years

AFLW Team Selection | Round 5 Carlton Media's Grace Phillips brings you all the team selection news ahead of our Round 5 clash against the Western Bulldogs at Ikon Park.

Bella Ayre’s performance in Carlton’s fourth-quarter fightback against the Demons showed that the future of the Blues’ forward line is in very capable hands.

Ayre, Carlton’s youngest AFLW player at 18 years and three months, hasn’t seemed out of place in any of her three matches this season, showing why she’s touted as one of the competition’s most promising youngsters with two final-quarter goals against Melbourne.

“It (fightback) was definitely all in the midfield. The way the mids brought themselves to the ground after three-quarter time definitely lifted everybody. Everyone was relentless trying to get the ball into our half,” Ayre said.

“I remember the adrenaline hit, and wanting to go out and do something, and have an impact on the game after three-quarter time. A couple of goals was a good individual effort but it was a massive team contribution.

“All of the girls worked so hard to come back in that fourth quarter. We definitely could’ve had the game.”
 

Ayre has already shown great resilience this season, fighting her way back from a knee injury in the pre-season to earn a debut in Carlton’s historic season opener.

While she was well held in that clash against Collingwood, Ayre’s performances have grown since.

“I lacked a bit of confidence (coming back from injury against Collingwood) but I definitely feel like I’m finding my feet,” she said.

“Because I am still so young, the girls have got behind me so much, and hopefully as I go on through each game I learn more. I think I’ve started to make more of an impact and contribute to the games.”


Bella Ayre stood tall in the Blues' fightback against the Crows. (Photo: AFL Media)

Ayre has the opportunity to continue her run of form when the Blues take on the Western Bulldogs at Ikon Park on Saturday.

Carlton is coming off a two-game losing streak, but Ayre believes her side is well placed to get back on the winners list.

“I feel being at home will help us,” she said.

“To be at home in our own locker rooms and our own space will be so good.”