THE AFLW season opener is only days away with a new crop of draftees making their cases for debut.

Part of the leadership group for the first time in 2020, Inaugural Blue Alison Downie has been impressed with this year’s draft crop in the countdown to Round 1.

Downie has played an integral part of the team since running out in the first ever AFLW game in 2017.

“You can’t go past Lucy McEvoy, she’s impressed me,” said Downie.

“It’s good to see that these young girls have that character and they’re not afraid to show who they really are.”

A former WNBL basketballer, Downie believes her career in elite sport has left her with leadership skills that are transferable across codes.

“There’s a whole lot more players on a footy field than in the basketball world so I guess you have to try and bring everyone together,” she said.

“The principles are essentially the same [across both codes].”

Having played 326 in the WNBL and now heading into her fourth AFLW season, Downie has her share of wisdom to impart upon the emerging talent at Ikon Park.

An illustrious career behind her across both sports, the 36-year old remains one of Carlton’s most reliable veterans in the later stage of her career.

“I’m sort of in that close to retirement stage, who knows how many years I’ll have left,” she said.

“I want to be giving as much back as I can to the girls that are playing with me and hopefully, they can have long careers like I have.”

But the ruck is not planning on slowing down yet: Downie is still eager to drive the 2020 season hard to go one step further.  

“I just want to be as persistent as I can be and improve on a few little things that I got feedback on last year,” said Downie.

“Although we might win the hitouts, we’re not necessarily winning the clearances so that's something that we’re really going to focus on”.