THE young guns and the established stars.

General Manager of Women’s Football Ash Brown has been impressed with pre-season efforts in every demographic of Carlton’s AFLW side ahead of the 2021 season.

With the entire squad in the midst of a fifth AFLW pre-season, Brown is eager for both draftees and veterans alike to show their wares with the 2021 AFLW fixture now confirmed.

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AFLW Fixture | No more hobbies, just footy

The 2021 AFLW fixture has been confirmed.

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“Mimi Hill has really impressed us with her professionalism, speed and the way she’s already been going in match simulation shows that she’s going to have a pretty significant impact this season,” Brown said of the 2020 draftee.

“In terms of players that have already been here, I think Darcy Vescio is the fittest she’s ever been and is really burning up match simulation at the moment. She’s enjoying playing a role where she’s maybe a little bit higher up the ground rather than just inside the forward 50.

“Abbie McKay, who’s Andrew McKay’s daughter, is probably ready to take her opportunity as the first father-daughter drafted into the AFL so I think she’s ready now. She’s had a great pre-season and she’s coming top five in all of our key fitness areas.”

With Round 1 set for the upcoming AFLW season, Brown was eager to see the return of the traditional rivalry for the competition’s opening match.

In what is set to a be a Thursday night blockbuster clash with Collingwood, the game will be the first AFLW game played in Victoria since the 2020 season was cut short due to Covid-19 in March.

“We’re really excited with how the fixture has played out not only for us but also for all the other teams,” he said.

“It’s an earlier start, so we’ll kick off with the blockbuster home game against the Magpies on the 28th of January on a Thursday at Ikon Park.

“We’re really excited: it’s gone to nine games this year and there’s plenty to like about the fixture for us.”

Despite a disappointing finish to their 2020 campaign, Brown is confident in the work the Game Changers have put in over the pre-season take the next step in 2021.

“Clearly it was unprecedented times in March. For us, we were in a preliminary final and it obviously takes a lot of hard work to get there but I think it was the right call at the time for the competition to do that,” he said.

“Clearly we’d like to get back to where we were this time last year and everyone wants to play finals. That’s certainly a goal and ambition that we know takes a lot of work and we think we’re doing a lot of things right at this time of year to hopefully give us that best opportunity come finals time again.”