THE CARLTON list is looking significantly younger than it once did, with the participation in women’s football growing exponentially each year.
Heading into her third year, Lucy McEvoy is an emerging leader down at IKON Park, leading the way through hard work and determination on the field, and having a good time off the field.
McEvoy has been impressed with the latest crop of draftees that have arrived at the Club, noting that the skills have been improving with each draft class that have come through the doors.
“You see the young girls come through the draft and their skills are as good as anyone,” McEvoy said.
“It’s pretty incredible because they haven’t had to stop playing [football] like some of the older girls and you really do notice the difference.”
While many talented athletes stream through the AFLW program, the continuity that younger footballers have had since the inception of the women’s league has allowed them to hone their craft through their teenage years and develop more football nuances through experience.
McEvoy experienced this herself, creating her pathway through the NAB league with the Geelong Falcons, and thinks that natural football skills and IQ will develop through these pathways.
“The girls’ footy IQ is only going to get better as well and you’ll probably see them start pulling off kicks that you see the men do which is hopefully going to bring more people to games and make it better to watch for everyone,” she said.
“One of our young guns, Annie Lee, she’s got incredible skills, one of the best kicks I think I’ve ever seen come through recently.”
Despite a few veterans of the Club departing in the last off-season, McEvoy maintains that the energy at the Club is still at an all-time high, with a lot of the younger crop starting to step up and put an emphasis on effort levels.
“We’re now such a young group, I feel like we just have unlimited amounts of energy, you get to training and the vibe and energy is always up,” she said.
“What’s done is done, those girls have moved on and there’s nothing we can do about that now. All we can do is come together as a group and put our best foot forward, train hard, play hard and see where that can take us.”
Another tick in the box for the women’s pre-season has been the completion of the first stage of the new gym facilities at IKON Park, which McEvoy had nothing but praise for.
Having identical areas to the men's program has definitely shifted the mindset for the women’s side, with McEvoy agreeing that it made her feel more comfortable and included in the Club.
“They were saying our rooms were going to be exactly the same as the boys and you don’t believe it until you see it, I think all our jaws were on the floor,” she said.
“We still don’t stop talking about how great our facilities are, they’re certainly leading the way in terms of AFLW facilities in the competition.
“I’ll never forget how lucky we are to have the equality that we do here.”