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Stevens happy to be bound by blue

Tom Pountney for AFL.com.au  November 23, 2017 10:47 AM

Stevens kicks off AFLW pre-season Nicola Stevens fronted the media at Ikon Park to kick off the 2018 AFLW pre-season.

Nicola Stevens donned the Carlton blue as she trained with new teammates for the first time on Tuesday night – seven months after winning best and fairest for Collingwood.

Following the move, Stevens is focused on a repeat of the explosive 2017 NAB AFL Women's opener – albeit with a very different role to play.

"I am pleased to be alongside Darcy [Vescio] rather than matching up on her," said the 24-year-old defender, who was front and centre as Vescio kicked four majors on her way to the 2017 leading goalkicker.

"I could see the Carlton girls developed something special last year and I wanted to be part of that.

"This is a move that provides an opportunity for me to take my football to the next level – I felt refreshed when I walked through the doors."

Coach Damien Keeping singled Stevens, who won selection in the Virgin Australia AFLW All Australian team, out as the type of player required to help balance the squad.

The Blues also landed 20-year-old Brisbane Lions star, Tayla Harris, in the trade period.

Nicola Stevens November 23 Image
Nic Stevens on the track. (Photo: AFL Photos)

The two star signings trained alongside nine other new faces in the squad of 30 that finished fourth on the ladder last season.

Eighteen-year-old Tasmania Roar cricketer Courtney Webb was selected in the NAB AFLW rookie draft, alongside Katie-Jane Grieve and Tiahna Cochrane – whose great-uncle, Trevor Keogh, is a Blues Team of the Century member.

"It’s phenomenal that you can finish year 12 and come into an environment like this," said Stevens. "I will look up to the rookies as they look up to me and hopefully I’ll be able to help them through the first few steps – it’s a big change in lifestyle."

Stevens, who started playing for Melbourne University in 2013, made history when she became the first AFLW player traded – but her lucky jumper will stay with her.

"I was handed the No. 21 jumper at Melbourne Uni and it has stayed with me. I am pleased to have that squad number here at Carlton – and If I can play half as many games as [club legend] Craig Bradley, I’ll be pretty happy."

Bradley played 375 matches for Blues in the No. 21.

Stevens will mark her 25th birthday on NAB AFLW Grand Final day (March 24) – and she hopes to celebrate by lifting the premiership cup.

"I am aware of the date the final falls on," she said.

"But we are just looking towards round one – then we will build on that."