Blues backing squad depth despite losing five stars

CARLTON coach Daniel Harford is confident his squad has the depth to cover the loss of five key players over the AFLW Sign and Trade Period.

Most infamously, Tayla Harris made her way to Melbourne after negotiations broke down, while Chloe Dalton moved to GWS in order to better combine her rugby and football and Jess Hosking made a shock last-minute trade request to Richmond.

Veteran leaders Katie Loynes (GWS) and Alison Downie (Collingwood) also found new homes as delisted free agents.

Harrington happy to skipper solo

02:43 Oct 20. 2021. 4:10 PM

Carlton skipper Kerryn Harrington and coach Daniel Harford speak to the media ahead of the 2022 NAB AFLW season

"We're seeing the emergence of Maddy Guerin, Charlotte Hammans, they'll get good opportunities on the back of this, players who have played three or four games with us in the past few years," Harford said.

"Then we bring in our draftees – Annie Lee will get a good chance, Keeley Sherar will get a chance, Brookey Vickers, Imogen Milford, Jess Good is a really good story, from South Australia, one of Kez’s (Kerryn Harrington) basketball mates and she's made a huge impact on our program.

"We've got Jess Dal Pos (from GWS), Lauren Brazzale still has a lot to give, she's been around for five years. We'd love to see more from Nat Plane and Gab Pound, some of our more experienced players. Charlotte Wilson is still emerging, Brooke Vernon, there's players left, right and centre we want to get into this team.

"I don't think the emergence of talent or the level of talent is a problem, it's just a matter of putting it all together and seeing what it looks like."

Blues recruit Jess Dal Pos in action at training on October 19, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Another player the Blues are keen to see back on the track is young midfielder Mimi Hill, who had an impressive debut month before rupturing her ACL earlier this year.

"She's on track, is the feedback I keep getting from the medicos and doctors," Harford said.

"They're pleased with Mim. She's doing a power of work, she's really driven. She is as focused as anyone I've ever seen and wants to get back out on the track as soon as possible.

"There's no timeline on it, she'll be ready when she's ready, but she's doing all the things they expect at this stage of her recovery."

Blues Madison Prespakis (left) and Mimi Hill in action at training on October 19, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

This is the second pre-season Victorian players have started in the midst of a lockdown, and the lessons from 2020 has made for a smoother transition for players.

"I don't necessarily think it was easier, it was just something we've been through before, so we were much more prepared for it," skipper Harrington said.

"The season prior was a little bit of trial and error as to what worked well and what needed to work better.

"Second time around, although we certainly didn't want to be in that position, it certainly was better than it was in the first year, and that's put us in better shape coming in (to pre-season)."

Blues skipper Kerryn Harrington in action at training on October 19, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Carlton also confirmed all its AFLW players have received at least one COVID-19 vaccination, in line with Victorian government regulations around permitted workers.