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Of the ground, the guernsey and the girls

Senior-listed members of Carlton’s AFLW team have presented themselves with their 2018 matchday guernseys, on the eve of the League’s season opener with Collingwood next Friday.

Ikon Park, which is again expected to be packed to the rafters for the much-anticipated contest, was eerily silent this afternoon, as the presentations were completed within the confines of the ground’s oldest surviving edifice, the Ald. Gardiner Stand.

The occasion was purposefully earmarked for the old ground rather than off-site, as Carlton AFLW Coach Damian Keeping explained.

“The most important part of it was that our players understood that the club knew how much they valued the dark Navy Blue jumper,” Keeping said.

Katie Loynes presents Darcy Vescio with her guernsey. (Photo: Carlton Media)

“That’s what we really wanted to get out of it – for them to know that they had the might of the Navy Blue army behind them, that they ‘feel’ where that jumper has come from, that they’re a real part of it now, and that they’ve got a real responsibility to take it forward.”

Keeping added that the Carlton players also fully understood their responsibilities as “the group to get it done”.

“They feel it and they know it - that they’re engaged with the history of the club, that they’re engaged with the people around the club and that they have that sense of responsibility,” Keeping said.

“It’s exciting for them to know they have that behind them going into Round 1 next week.”

Sarah Last admires her 2018 Carlton guernsey. (Photo: Carlton Media)

That the 111 year-old heritage-listed Gardiner Stand served as the backdrop also reflected the sense of history shared by the Carlton players. 

As Keeping said: “It’s reflective of the way in which these players value their club and the way in which they value eachother”.

“To share the moment within the surrounds of the old Princes Park ground was incredibly moving,” Keeping said.