Carlton Football Club supporters may have to wait for the second season of the AFLW before they can be less Blue, but early indications are that the huge sacrifice the club made in order to lure Nicola Stevens away from the Collingwood Magpies’ fold is going to pay vast dividends.
Stevens claimed the Pies best and fairest for the inaugural season of the AFLW, so she did not come cheaply. The Blues gave up three draft choices, picks 5, 13 and 21.
Stevens was impressive in the State of Origin match, which may have supplied the final nudge to Carlton officials to do whatever necessary to bring her into the Blues’ fold. Stevens and Brianna Davey seem to share an almost telepathic communication on the ground, with the two combining off halfback with a blistering run and carry.
Davey was the recipient of Carlton’s best and fairest, so it would seem as though the Pies are doing everything in their power to stack the odds in their favour ahead of the 2017 AFLW competition.
The Blues’ competition had better have a response ready when the competition returns in 2018. Speaking with Fox Footy, Stevens said, “It’s incredible to play with Bri (Davey). I think the last game we played together was on this exact day last year in the Western Bulldogs game.There’s a real sense of comfort when she’s beside me and I’m beside her. We both feel the same. (State of Origin) It’s just a little taste of what’s to come. We work really well together, we link up really well together.”
The Blues did not stop at Stevens. They also added Brisbane Lions’ star Tayla Harris.
Can a club thrive and flourish with stars galore? It has been tried many times prior, often with the desired outcomes failing to equal expectations.
The women footy players have been working hard, trying to balance their duties with the AFLW and the VFLW, which sets up some conflicts with scheduling and training. Stevens said she would like to see an alignment between the two leagues to ease the conflicts.