ALMOST there.

With the AFLW pre-season kicking off next Tuesday, it feels like the Carlton side have never left.

This is in part due to all the additional effort they have been putting in over the off-season, coming into the Club to hone their skills and fitness on their own accord. 

Having almost a full list coming in to train three times a week has been a major shift in mindset for the group, but it's been a welcome one, according to Amelia Velardo. 

“It’s been awesome, I think we’ve been getting the group together for quite a while now and it’s been amazing to see the buy-in from everyone,” Velardo said. 

“Whether it’s in the gym, on the field or just connection pieces here and there, it's been incredible to see such a drive to get better and work on their craft.” 

A leader of the team in recent seasons, Mimi Hill echoed the sentiment, noting the access to the facilities - both physical and personnel - has been a huge step up in their previous preparation for pre-season. 


With a lot of the new players able to come in and get to know their teammates sooner, Hill couldn’t overestimate the importance of the connection that they were building off-field. 

“I think it’s going to lead to better footy when the season comes around,” Hill said. 

“We’re all training harder, training more, we have more access to coaches, equipment and facilities – it makes me excited for what we will be able to do this season.” 

Many of the AFLW-listed players have chosen to partake in the VFLW program in some way, whether it is additional training or playing on match day. 

Not only is this contributing to their overall fitness and game experience, but is also allowing further development of the VFLW-listed players on Carlton’s list. 

“It’s been awesome to see [players] really connect with the VFLW program, I think that’s been really important for the Club,” Velardo said. 

“I played VFLW with Yas Duursma and ‘Kecky’, and I was really excited by what I saw,” Hill said. 

“‘Duurs’ with her run and create from the half-back line and ‘Kecky’ just being a little menace . . . she’s going to have a bit of ‘Skep’ about her, bit rough.”


With the ultimate goal to have longer AFLW seasons in sight, both Velardo and Hill said that more intense training blocks could only lead to an improved standard of play, therefore resulting in more games being played. 

The amount of players opting to come in and resume their training early is inspiring for the pair, noticing that the commitment and buy-in from the group to improve has never been higher. 

“It’s a good balance with the training we’re doing and the interactions we’re having. Hopefully that will hold us in good stead with team connection, that always comes out on the field in the end,” Velardo said. 

“We all want to play more footy and I think the fans want to watch more footy,” Hill admitted. 

“There’s nothing better than coming to IKON Park during spring and watching a game – it’s a really good energy.”