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AFLW season review: Part four

AFLW B&F Winners | Prespakis and Davey Maddy Prespakis and Bri Davey spoke after being awarded as dual winners of the 2019 AFLW Best and Fairest.

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.

25. Jessica Edwards

Jessica Edwards arrived at Carlton a mature-age recruit after being selected with pick No.42 at the 2018 AFLW National Draft.

Edwards brought experience and leadership to the side, having captained North Adelaide’s inaugural SANFL side in 2017.

She was influential on debut against a much-hyped North Melbourne outfit at North Hobart Oval in Round 1.

The first-gamer took the tagging role on 2018 AFLW best and fairest winner Emma Kearney, curtailing North’s star while collecting eight disposals, five tackles and a goal to be the Blues’ best.

Recalled for the finals series, Edwards averaged 10 disposals and 5.3 tackles over her seven games.

 

26. Shae Audley

Shae Audley was named in the Carlton leadership group for 2019, having been a part of the squad since the inaugural 2017 season.

Audley had been a consistent performer for the Blues in the first two season, and despite being limited to only two games for the season her commitment on and off the field was evident.

She averaged four disposals and six tackles over the two games, playing largely as a pressure forward.

Audley still maintained her leadership off-field, with the Blues fielding a largely young and inexperienced side in 2019.

27. Emerson Woods

Carlton welcomed Emerson Woods to the Club after she was selected with pick No.38 at the 2018 AFLW National Draft.

Woods was a latecomer to football, having only played for two years before being picked up by the Blues.

The childhood Bluebagger realised her dream when she debuted against Collingwood in Round 5 in what turned out to be a memorable victory at Ikon Park.

The young winger managed seven disposals in what was her only game of the season: it was an experience which she later said she’d never forget.

 

30. Alison Downie

Ruck Alison Downie had a breakout year in the middle for Carlton, appearing in all nine games to play and important role in the Blues finals campaign.

Downie has been with the Blues since the inaugural AFLW season after swapping codes following a successful 326-game WNBL career.

She averaged 20 hitouts across the nine games – the second highest in the competition for 2019. Her best individual performance came in the Blues’ triumphant win over Brisbane in Round 6 to put them right in the mix for an eventual home final.

Downie recorded a game-high 29 hit-outs to give the midfielders first opportunity in the centre. It was the kind of performance which saw her desperately unlucky to miss out on All Australian selection.

32. Natalie Plane

Natalie Plane was again pushing for selection in an increasingly competitive forward and midfield group in 2019.

The youngster made a strong start to the season, playing the first four rounds before losing her spot in Round 5.

Across her four games, Plane averaged 6.5 disposals and four tackles for Carlton.

Even though the Blues fell short to Adelaide in Round 2, Plane had a notable 11-disposal, two-goal performance against the Crows. 3

 

6. Jayde Van Dyk

Jayde Van Dyk swapped the brown and gold for Navy Blue when she was selected by Carlton in the 2018 AFLW National Draft.

The former Hawthorn VFLW premiership player quickly cemented herself a spot in the Blues’ backline, playing every game in her debut AFLW season.

The young defender averaged 10.2 disposals and 2.4 marks per game for her efforts down back, impressing her coaches to ultimately finish six in the best-and-fairest count.

Her best came in the Blues’ narrow five-point victory over Collingwood in Round 6, collecting 12 disposals, four marks and three tackles in a resolute defensive performance.