CARLTON'S year of change and development was seen all over the ground, with some players finding their feet in new positions, while others honed their craft and saw noticeable improvement.
One player who worked on their game and used the 2023 season as a stage to showcase their development was Jess Good, who through individual work and her partnership with All-Australian Ruck Brea Moody, saw her rise to be a top ruck prospect in the league.
Before her third AFLW season, Good took advantage of the opportunity to spend some time playing VFLW.
Although becoming a top-10 ruck in the league, Good has played less than 50 games of football, so the chance to work on her strengths and develop as a footballer was taken with both hands by the South Australian.
“Those few extra games in VFLW were really good and probably led to me having a really strong pre-season,” Good said.
“They gave me the confidence that I can play at a high level and can play quite strongly, and it did give me confidence going into the AFLW season”.
With Good spending more time as the starting ruck, Moody had the ability to play in the forward line and develop her game as a main target inside 50.
The two worked hard to be able to hold their own in their new roles and knew what they needed to focus on, as Moody aimed to use her athleticism and aerial strength as a feature of her forward craft.
Although she has her own notes for where to improve, Moody showed that she can be her dominant self all around the ground throughout the season, providing several outstanding plays and well-rounded four-quarter performances to add to her career highlight reel.
“It's been something I’ve always looked to do, to not just be a ruck and to try and use my athleticism in the forward line and hopefully get some scores on the board,” Moody said.
“I’ve really enjoyed the challenge and I know I still have a fair way to go in the forward line but it’s been great to train with the forwards a lot more this year and play forward on game day”.
But with their individual development, comes a connection that has helped give more options to the Blues’ game plan in the midfield and coverage for contests across the ground.
The aptly self-named 'Good Mood' duo have brought the best out of each other, both on and off the field, with Good and Moody working hard at training and in games to be a standout ruck combination in the league.
Although an already accomplished athlete, Good has welcomed learning from her experienced offsider and excelling under the guidance of Moody, whilst Moody is excited to see Good’s growth and looks forward to seeing where it will take the two in 2024.
“To be able to work with an All-Australian is second to none, her work ethic is huge and it’s helped take my game to a whole other level so it’s an incredible duo to be a part of," Good said.
“She’s got so much variety and so many tools in her belt and that’s what’s helped me when I come up against some of those rucks who have the athleticism that she has. So it’s been the practice that has been able to elevate my own game."
“It’s been awesome to see her develop into the ruck more this year and that's allowed me to push up forward, but knowing we can swap those roles at any moment to try and catch the opposition off guard or try to put the team in a better position,” Moody said.
“It’s great to know that we can be on the same page and call that when we want to."