2020 SummaryThe Blues were peaking heading in to the Finals, only for the COVID-19 virus to end the season prematurely. The 2020 season was disrupted and then brought to an early end by the COVID-19 pandemic, which was formally declared a pandemic on 11 March 2020, prior to Round 6. The pandemic had the following effects on the season:
- All matches played from 14 March onwards were played to empty stadiums.
- The final two rounds of the home-and-away season were scratched and the finals brought forward by two weeks, being played based on ladder positions at the time.
- The finals series was expanded from six teams to eight. Under the original schedule, the top team in each conference was to advance directly to the preliminary finals while the second and third placed teams played off in semi-finals; but under the modified system, the fourth placed teams also qualified, and faced the first placed teams in semi-finals. Partway through the finals series, it was announced that no premiership will be awarded after the Victorian government announced a shutdown of all non-essential operations on 22 March 2020.
Four new teams, Gold Coast, Richmond, St Kilda and West Coast, joined the competition, bringing the total number of teams to fourteen. This followed on from the inclusion of Geelong and North Melbourne in the previous season.
Carlton Season Review - Sarah Black
The Grand Finalists from 2019 didn't disappoint in 2020, Carlton finishing the season as one of the form sides of the competition. We didn't get a chance to see how the mouth-watering preliminary final against North Melbourne would have played out, but there was no doubt of Carlton's flag credentials.
2020 finishing position: Second in Conference B, five wins, one loss, 151.8%. Qualified for preliminary final.
Best win: Carlton 6.4 (40) defeated Melbourne 3.6 (24) in round six.
An honourable mention to the round five victory over Adelaide, but the win against Melbourne in Alice Springs sewed up a home semi-final and reaffirmed Carlton's claims to the flag. The Blues were challenged and down at half-time, but responded in strong fashion.
Best individual performance: You could throw a blanket over most of Maddy Prespakis' season, but her game against Adelaide in round five was arguably the best. Her stats say twenty disposals, four marks and a goal, but that doesn't show the quality of opposition she was up against.
Club best and fairest candidates: Maddy Prespakis, Kerryn Harrington, Tayla Harris
NAB AFLW Rising Star nominations: Lucy McEvoy (round one), Grace Egan (round four), Charlotte Wilson (round five)
Debutants: Joanne Doonan, Grace Egan, Mua Laloifi, Lucy McEvoy, Brooke Vernon
Most improved: Taken with pick 27 in the 2018 NAB AFLW Draft, Charlotte Wilson played five games in her debut season of 2019, but took her game to a new level this year as her confidence grew. The defender played with composure and maturity beyond her years, averaging the third-most marks in the competition. Georgia Gee also took another step in 2020.
Star recruit: The Blues landed themselves arguably the steal of the draft with Mua Laloifi at pick 52. The 26-year-old former basketballer became an integral part of the team's backline, with her intercept and rebound key to the side's success.
Unsung hero: An inaugural member of Carlton's line-up, Nat Plane was an important part of the team's ball movement this year, providing a key link on the wing. Plane's average disposal increased from 6.5 to 12.3 this season.
- Being adaptable to their opposition. With limited training hours available for pre-season, we rarely see teams roll out notably different game-plans week-to-week. But Carlton did just that against Adelaide, employing a high-marking game to beat the Crows.
- Darcy Vescio ventured further up the ground in 2020 and consequently had a much more consistent impact on matches. She still managed to cause havoc close to goal, but also brought teammates into the game with her clever decision-making across the top of the 50.
What needs improvement:
- Slow starts were an issue throughout the season, but ultimately only cost the Blues one game against Collingwood. On average, Carlton was only one point ahead of its opposition at half-time throughout the season.
Season in a song: Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You). The Kelly Clarkson classic fits Carlton well. The Blues lost skipper and best-and-fairest Brianna Davey to arch-rivals Collingwood but brought in two extra draft picks (including pick two, Lucy McEvoy) and had arguably a better season.
Early call for 2021: With just three players over 30 (Alison Downie, Katie Loynes and Jess Edwards), none of whom look like slowing down any time soon, expect much of the same from Carlton in 2021. A preliminary final – at the least – is definitely achievable.
Season rating: 9/10
People of 2020Coach: Daniel Harford
Captain: Katie Loynes & Kerryn Harrington
Leadership Groups: Katie Loynes, Kerryn Harrington, Alison Downie, Sarah Hosking, Nicola Stevens.
Best and Fairest: Madison Prespakis
Leading Goalkicker: Tayla Harris 7 goals
AwardsAFLW Best and Fairest: Madison Prespakis, who polled 15 out of 18 votes.
AFLW Rising Star Nominees: Lucy McEvoy, Grace Egan, Charlotte Wilson
HonoursAFLW Players Association Under 22 Team: Georgia Gee, Madison Prespakis, Charlotte Wilson
2020 Toyota AFL Women's All Australian team:
Defender: Kerryn Harrington
Midfielder: Madison Prespakis
Interchange: Tayla Harris
LadderThe conference system utilised in the previous season was retained for this season, though it was expanded to cater for the additional teams. Seven teams were placed in each of the two conferences, with teams playing all their intra-conference rivals once and two cross-over matches against teams from the other conference, resulting in an 8-round home and away season. The placing of the teams was determined by the AFL with competitiveness, list assessments and the previous season's results in mind.
|2||Greater Western Sydney||4||2||0||16||170||142||119.7|
|4||Gold Coast Suns||2||3||1||10||121||144||84.0|
|7||West Coast Eagles||1||5||0||4||77||232||33.2|
North Melbourne 5.4 (34) d Collingwood 5.2.32
Greater Western Sydney 3.8 (26) d Melbourne 4.5 (29)
Fremantle 12.8 (80) d Gold Coast Suns 1.4 (10)
Carlton 6.8 (44) d Brisbane 2.3 (15)
North Melbourne vs Carlton (cancelled)
Fremantle vs Melbourne (cancelled)