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AFLW season review: Part two

Sounds of the Game | Jess Hosking Jess Hosking gets wired for sound before the preliminary final against Fremantle.

CARLTON embarrassed critics in 2019, appearing in its first AFLW Grand Final in an extraordinary 12-month turnaround.

The Blues improved week on week to give themselves an opportunity at the ultimate success but fell just short.

With the season now behind us, we take a look each player’s individual performance.

8. Amelia Mullane:

Making the move from Collingwood in the off-season, Amelia Mullane made a strong start at Carlton in 2019.

A strong-bodied inside midfielder, Mullane played every game this season to cement herself as a permanent fixture in the centre for the Blues.

Her efforts early in the season went largely unheralded, until a breakout performance came in Round 6 when the Blues defeated Brisbane.

The dynamic midfielder racked up 13 disposals (nine contested), four inside 50s and three tackles in the Round 6 victory.

Mullane has averaged 8.6 disposals across the season, but her tackle pressure was the hallmark of her game. With an average of 5.2 per match, she led the Blues for tackles this season.

9. Kerryn Harrington

Under the leadership of Kerryn Harrington, Carlton elevated its defensive pressure to new heights in 2019.

Harrington played all nine games as a key pillar of the backline in what was her first year as part of the Blues’ leadership group.

With an average of 13 disposals and 1.2 tackles per game, an outstanding season saw Harrington receive All Australian honours.

The unshakable defender’s best performance came in Round 4 against Geelong, notching 18 disposals, three tackles and a game-high seven rebound 50s.

Despite falling just five points short at GMHBA Stadium, the Blues backline led by Harrington — who polled AFLW best and fairest votes — relegated the Cats to just 19 points.

10. Sarah Hosking

A much-loved figure in the Carlton midfield, Sarah Hosking remained a dependable contested ball-winner in AFLW 3.0.

Named in the Blues leadership group for another year, Hosking ranked in the Blues’ top 10 for tackle pressure and disposals for her efforts in the midfield.

Averaging 9.7 disposals, 2.8 tackles and 2.7 inside 50s a game, the young midfielder led the charge in the centre.

Her best came in the Blues’ triumphant preliminary final victory over Fremantle to put Carlton into its first-ever AFLW Grand Final.

With 10 disposals, three tackles and a goal, Hosking willed her side forward in the 36-point victory over the Dockers.

11. Jess Hosking

Not to be outdone by her twin sister, Jess Hosking was a crucial piece of the defence puzzle for the Blues in their 2019 campaign. 

In her third year with Carlton, she formed part of a formidable defensive contingent with Kerryn Harrington and Gab Pound.

Hosking averaged seven disposals and two tackles across nine games in 2019, but her best came in the Blues’ Round 4 clash with Geelong.

Although Carlton didn’t finish with the four points, Hosking was influential with 11 disposals, three marks and three tackles. 

12. Lauren Brazzale 

Speedy midfielder Lauren Brazzale finished the season on a high after a standout finals performance.

Her pace and breakaway speed made her a threat across the ground through much of the season.

Brazzale averaged 9.2 disposals, two inside 50s and two tackles a game in 2019, but began to hit her stride late in the season.

She proved herself on the big stage during the Blues’ preliminary final, notching a game-high 22 disposals to be her side’s best on the day.

13. Kirby Bentley

Kirby Bentley was Carlton’s final acquisition of the off-season, arriving at the Blues after two seasons at Fremantle.

The defender earned All Australian honours in the inaugural AFLW season, and her leadership was a key addition to the Carlton ranks amidst a young group.

Playing the opening three games of the season, Bentley averaged eight disposals, two marks and 1.3 tackles across 2019.

Her best performance this season came in Round 2 against Adelaide, collecting 11 disposals and four marks.

 

14. Brooke Walker

Brooke Walker arrived at Carlton as a 2019 rookie signing after playing for its VFLW side the year prior.

Walker, who previously represented her country in women’s rugby sevens, was described by coach Daniel Harford as a “tackling machine” when she signed.

She made her AFLW debut against the Giants in Round 3 and quickly earned herself a place in the side, playing every game thereafter.

Her best performance came against the reigning premiers in Round 7, booting three goals and laying four tackles to defeat the Bulldogs.

Walker averaged three tackles, nine disposals and a goal per game during the Blues’ 2019 campaign.

She was named in the team of the week once this season for her two-goal performance against Brisbane in Round 6.