ON THE DAY after the 2022 NAB AFL Women's Draft, General Manager of Women's Football Brett Munro sat down with Carlton Media to give them a full debrief on all that has happened in the off-season in terms of the Blues' list.
Speaking on acquisitions through the sign and trade period, departing players and brand new draftees, Munro covers all.
Here's what he had to say.
On Phoebe McWilliams:
“Phoebe McWilliams will fit in up forward. She will provide us with an outstanding target. She naturally leads at the footy, fantastic hands, proven goal kicker, and will certainly release a bit of pressure from Darcy [Vescio] and Jess Good.
“We know what Phoebe will bring, she’s got a history of hitting the scoreboard. I think she sits 10th for all-time goalkickers in AFLW, so she’s a really good acquisition: we think she’s got plenty of footy ahead of her.”
On Amelia Velardo:
“Amelia Velardo just turned 20 years of age. Amelia is exciting, she’s hit the ground running at our training sessions.
“She’ll play midfield: she can play inside and out, wing and inside. We think she has a fantastic future in footy and at the Carlton Football Club.
“She’s hit the ground running, she’s involved herself in training in getting to know players really well: we’re excited about what she can bring.”
On Taylor Ortlepp:
“She does have a history in footy, she trialled back with the Crows a number of years ago at the same time as Anne Hatchard.
“Taylor went back and played basketball, but there is a connection with Jess Good and Kerryn Peterson. Taylor is a really good athlete, powerful, great step, really good evasion and with the basketball background, she’s got great hands.
“She’s keen to get going, she’s over this week but still committed to basketball at the moment: we love the loyalty that she’s showing to finish that off. We think we’ll probably start her down back where the ball can come to her a little bit more and she can build from there, but there’s no ceiling on where Taylor will go.”
On the departing players and negotiating picks:
“Firstly to those players, they’re forever a part of our history of the Carlton Football Club and the Game Changers. They were here for varying degrees of time but this will always be home for them, even though we have said goodbye.
“What we try to do through sign and trade is get fair deals for each one of them. We treat each one individually and have a goal in mind of what we’re trying to achieve but when you’ve got so many deals to get done, you can’t get hung up on trying to win every deal.
“The goal is always in the end is to get the best selections or the best players in for those players. Ultimately, we think we achieved that, which came to fruition last night with the picks we were able to take to the draft, in particular getting two picks inside the top 10.”
On Keeley Skepper:
“Keeley is an exciting midfield prospect. She can play forward, mid and can play half back. She could possibly already be the best kick in our team: she’s a beautiful kick, she swings onto that left boot and she’s got good penetration.
“She’s an energy giver, she’s a big personality and we think she’ll fit in really, really well into the program.”
On Mia Austin:
“Mia Austin hasn’t played a hell of a lot of footy. She high jump background, big leap.
"She can play ruck but we think she’ll be a key forward for a long time. She can certainly do some ruck work forward, but we think she’s got time on her side to get her craft right."
On Lily Goss:
“Her love of the contest is what stands out with Lily Goss. She played midfield, she’s 22 years of age, never been in high-profile programs, but she came into our VFLW program and she loves to win the footy and she loves to apply pressure. That’s what will work at AFLW level.
“She’s got really good hands and she handballs really well. Lily has massive upside and as soon as we can get her back from Seattle, which won’t be too far away, we’re excited to get her in.”
On Jessica Jones:
“What she gives us is great support for someone like ‘Trudge’ in particular. Jess can play that shutdown defender role.
“Where we’re at with our defence, we have ‘Kez’, we have Mua in particular that play that attacking, rebounding role.
“Say if ‘Trudge’ was to get injured or we’re up against two talls, Jess can play that role, then we don’t have to take away from Mua and Kez’s creativity. It’s really propping up an area where we thought we were a bit vulnerable.”
On Kade Simpson’s new role:
“We thought there were more opportunities with the growth of AFLW - with more access to hours - to have someone the players could access outside of training sessions, that can work on their craft and development.
“It’s where the game is at. We’re a really young group, so to give them the opportunity to come in a couple of times a week, outside of training, it’s as easy as Kade going ‘I’ll be in at the Club at this time, who’s up for a bit of extra touch?’ and the players just come in as they need be.
“It’s not insisted upon and he’s had anywhere from one-on-one sessions to 16 at a time. He just adjusts those sessions as needed. It’s had great buy in and we think it’s a great way to go.
"We’re getting a lot more reach, a lot more benefit for Kade’s experience: rather than him impacting six or seven players in a line, he’s impacting all 30.”
On the journey ahead:
“The biggest thing for us now is the cohesion of the group. Getting all the players in, working together with our coaching staff, and there has been some changes there as well.
“We’re ready to roll. We’re three weeks in now and we have our playing group together. There’s no ceiling on what we can do, we expect to do well.
“We still have six All Australians, we have four players that were Rising Stars, one that won it.
“Talent is not an issue, it’s just getting them all on the same page, working towards the same goal: if we do that, we’ll do well.”