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Captains expect Davey, Vescio to fire

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The captains of the eight teams in the NAB AFL Women’s Competition have given their predictions on the approaching season at today’s season launch, with Melbourne and Carlton expected to be the on-field improvers for the new season.

In the lead-up to round one this weekend, the eight skippers were anonymously polled on five key questions on how the season will unfold, with Melbourne (four votes) and Carlton (three votes) drawing the most nominations for which other club apart from their own was most likely to push into this year’s Grand Final. All Australians Darcy Vescio (Carlton), Daisy Pearce (Melbourne) and Bri Davey (Carlton) were again tipped to be the stand-out players, while the number one draft pick was expected to make an immediate impact.

Vescio, the leading goalkicker across the competition in season one for the Blues, was nominated by seven of the eight captains to top the goalkicking while Pearce and Davey drew three votes apiece to claim the competition’s best and fairest award.

Number one selection in the NAB AFLW Women’s Draft, Isabel Huntington, was selected by four judges to claim the NAB AFL Women’s Rising Star award in her debut season this year for the Western Bulldogs.

Blues skipper Bri Davey. (Photo: AFL Photos)

The captains were also asked to nominate the single match they were looking forward to watching involving another club this season, with selections including two of this weekend’s season-openers -- Carlton and Collingwood at Ikon Park and the Grand Final rematch between the Adelaide Crows and the Brisbane Lions at Norwood Oval.

The full survey results were (Captains polled – Katie Brennan, Western Bulldogs; Steph Chiocci, Collingwood; Bri Davey, Carlton; Kara Donnellan, Fremantle; Amanda Farrugia, GWS Giants; Carlton; Daisy Pearce, Melbourne; Erin Phillips, Adelaide Crows; Emma Zielke, Brisbane Lions):

Which other team apart from your own is most likely to reach the Grand Final?

4 – Melbourne.

3 - Carlton.

1 – Western Bulldogs.

Who will win the competition Best and Fairest?

3 – Bri Davey, Carlton; Daisy Pearce, Melbourne.

1 – Katie Brennan, Western Bulldogs; Karen Paxman, Melbourne.

Who will kick the most goals in the competition?

7 – Darcy Vescio, Carlton.

1 – Sarah Perkins, Adelaide Crows.

Who will win the NAB AFL Women’s Rising Star?

4 – Isabel Huntington, Western Bulldogs.

1 – Monique Conti, Western Bulldogs; Sophie Conway, Brisbane Lions; Chloe Molloy, Collingwood; Ruth Wallace, Adelaide Crows.

Which one other game of the season, not involving your own club, will be you definitely be watching?

2 - Carlton v Collingwood, (Opening match of the AFLW season at Ikon Park this Friday night).

2 - Adelaide Crows v Brisbane Lions, (Grand Final re-match in round one).

2 - Carlton v Melbourne, (The two best-performed Victorian sides of the 2017 season meet in round six).

1 - Carlton v Brisbane Lions, (Carlton forward Tayla Harris turning out against her former club in round three).

1 – Western Bulldogs v Melbourne, (The two clubs who began the exhibition game series, meeting in round seven on the eve of the Grand Final).

In last year’s inaugural year of the AFLW competition, not a single rival captain nominated eventual premiers the Adelaide Crows capable of reaching the Grand Final, but three captains nominated the Crows’ Erin Phillips to be the best player coming into the game from another sport, while one captain nominated Bri Davey. Phillips dominated the competition, both winning the AFLW Best and Fairest and being best on ground in the Grand Final, while Davey, now Carlton captain, was named as one of the five All Australian defenders for the season.

In 2017, one captain correctly nominated Carlton’s Darcy Vescio to top the goalkicking and NAB AFL Women’s Rising Star winner Ebony Marinoff from the Adelaide Crows was also correctly nominated by one leader in the build-up to last season.