BY THE NUMBERS (averages in brackets)
Kicks: 50 (7.1) Handballs: 50 (7.1) Disposals: 100 (14.3) Tackles 32 (4.6)
THERE are few Blues who have had such a drastic impact in their debut year, but midfielder Grace Egan would easily fulfil the criteria.
The Blues were delighted to snare the 19-year-old midfielder’s talents as part of the AFLW Academy bidding process, having been impressed with what they had seen Egan display during her time playing with Richmond VFLW.
Going from strength-to-strength, ‘Greg’ (as she is more commonly referred to amongst the team) repaid the faith shown in her by the Blues’ selectors, cementing her place in Carlton’s midfield and not missing a game of the 2020 season.
Egan’s ferocity around the contest and football smarts were a large part of her success, while her natural competitiveness won over many Carlton fans.
She started with an instant impact against the Tigers (a familiar opposition) in Round 1, and she didn’t miss a beat from there.
The pressure of playing against the 2019 premiers and coming up against a midfield stacked with sheer talent may have an impact on some of the young players of the competition.
However, that wasn’t the case for Egan.
Rising to the occasion, Egan demonstrated great poise collecting 18 disposals, taking six marks and laying four tackles.
It was a performance which also captured the attention of the AFLW community, with Egan also receiving a 2020 NAB AFLW Rising Star nomination for her performance.
It was just reward after a month of impressive performances at the top level.
While it was a season full of memorable moments, there is little doubt that Egan’s debut would have provided the highlight of the season.
Egan showed remarkable resilience in her journey to the top level, with the Shepparton local often making a 400km round trip to get to training sessions in Melbourne.
After missing out on an AFLW list spot in her draft year, Egan turned to VFLW and impressed for Richmond, playing 12 games and averaging 13 disposals.
For all the hard work and sacrifice to finally pay off (and to also get the win against some of your former teammate) was a fitting reward for Egan’s hard work.